Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Ordinary Germans also suffer to pay the bankers!

Anti-German feeling is prevalent in Ireland. One hears it vehemently expressed in the most general terms at public meetings dealing with the economic crisis and even in everyday conversation.
A greater amount of caution needs to be exercised concerning such sentiments. The ordinary German citizen is not responsible for the actions of the German banks and their political representatives in government. Germany’s working people are not benefiting from the policies of Merkel and Co., even though many of them might gullibly believe the propaganda of their masters.
Visit Germany’s capital city, and poverty is plain to see—not just people begging on the streets and in the underground but also well-dressed individuals of both sexes and all ages rummaging through street bins in search of returnable bottles.
Supermarkets pay 8 cents for certain glass bottles, 25 cents for plastic ones. Germans are indeed resourceful. Many of these bottle-hunters travel the city on bikes, carrying a number of large bags for their glass and plastic booty.
There is an element of surprise when one first becomes aware of the poverty. Unemployment in Germany may be at a relatively low 6.6 per cent, but a recent study carried out by the the German Trade Union Congress, the DGB, found that of those in full-time employment 29 per cent of West Germans and 34 per cent of East Germans receive social welfare assistance to supplement their inadequate wages in order to survive. In total, this costs the German taxpayer €6 billion per year. In other words, many German employers are being heavily subsidised by the state.
There is no minimum wage in Germany, and the average wage in the low-wage sector is €6.50 per hour. Another study carried out by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) showed that 22 per cent of the work force is employed in this sector—7.3 million people in total. The report reveals that low wages inevitably means that these workers have to work long hours—an average of 50 hours per week—to earn a basic wage.
The authorities have made eligibility for unemployment benefit or social welfare extremely stringent. The unemployed are put under constant pressure to take on “mini-jobs” and part-time work at extremely low rates of pay or else face the loss of benefits.
As in Ireland, the ruling political class want the ordinary person to pay for the economic crisis. In late June the German parliament, the Bundestag, debated the ESM and Fiscal Pact Treaties in the one session. Only Die Linke (Left Party) opposed both treaties. The Green Party and the Social Democrats supported the governing coalition proposal to pass both.
Sahra Wagenknecht of Die Linke spoke against the treaties. She argued: “You are behaving like puppets. The puppet-masters are the bankers, and the result has been treaties in which citizens are short-changed in order to rescue the fortunes of the richest and keep the financial market casino rolling along . . . This is a project for the smashing of employees’ rights and a project for the reduction of wages and pensions. It is a project by Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley for the plundering of European taxpayers.”

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