Saturday, September 10, 2005


Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and his Social Democrats have pledged action. So has Angela Merkel, whose conservative parties lead the polls for the Sept. 18 elections. Her would-be government partners, the Free Democrats led by Guido Westerwelle, have been most vocal in promising the same. What Germans of all political stripes seem to want is action to reduce the battery of 90,000 laws and regulations and curb the powers of the 4 million bureaucrats that economists say stifle initiative and motivation.

But tell that to the managers of small businesses who have heard such promises before. Indeed, just mention the word "bureaucracy" to Patricia Ferer and her eyes roll, the hands go up and the frowns set in..... Ulrike Hoerchens, an expert on regulations at Germany's Federation of Retailers, which represents 100,000 retailers, hears these complaints all the time. "Red tape strangles many businesses," she said.

Udo Robakowski, 34, was one of those who nearly suffered. In a burst of optimism, he moved to Berlin from Cologne in 1998 and plunged into setting up a top quality shoe shop in Berlin's elegant Charlottenburg district. But the enthusiastic Rhinelander has become increasingly frustrated with the bureaucracy, the complicated tax structure and the endless regulations. "I had 10 years' experience in the shoe business before I set up my shop here," Robakowski said. But one day, he recalled, the Obermeister, the superviser of the Meisters, the title given to those who have passed the examinations for making and mending shoes, turned up. "He wanted to see my Meister's certificate. I never did the exams. He then said I did not have permission to carry out all the shoe repairs. "He then threatened to fine me 25,000 deutsche marks," now about 12,500. "It was so stupid. All he had to do was to look at the quality of my work."

Robakowski, who employs two people, said that he could easily employ more but that it would cost too much. Hoerchens explained: "Once a retailer employs six people, the employer has to register his staff. You cannot imagine the bureaucracy. You have to fill in 18 different forms and many from different departments. "This costs time. It costs money and you really need help to do this. Each employee costs the employer an additional 4,500."

Asked whether the situation would change after Sept. 18, despite the loud promises, neither Hoerchens, Ferer nor Robakowski was willing to place bets.

More here



One for the "Unbelievable" files: "Before Hurricane Katrina breached a levee on the New Orleans Industrial Canal, the Army Corps of Engineers had already launched a $748 million construction project at that very location. But the project had nothing to do with flood control. The Corps was building a huge new lock for the canal, an effort to accommodate steadily increasing barge traffic. Except that barge traffic on the canal has been steadily decreasing."

California tries to mandate higher unemployment again: "For the second time in two years, the Legislature is sending Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger a bill raising the state's minimum wage. And for the second time, the governor is expected to veto it, setting the stage for a possible ballot-initiative fight on the issue next year and possibly carrying repercussions for the governor's agenda in the Nov. 8 special election, Democrats say".

A people disaster: "Buildings can be rebuilt, but "The Big Easy" has died and cannot be resuscitated. People will remember the Superdome as a concentration camp, a huge "rape room." They will forever wonder if the cop they see stayed on duty or became a predator, or whether he did anything but watch. Many will feel some small sense of shame each time they turn on that TV they stole (or bought from a thief). The rest of the country and the rest of the world now has put their whole city and anyone admitting to have lived there into the same category as British soccer fans, politicians and people who cheat on their marriages -- okay most of the time, but never quite trustworthy. It is already happening. Cities where the refugess are being taken are putting extra police on duty around them to guard against a spread of the problems which have been so widely reported. And this is the tragedy following the tragedy, because the vast majority of these folks are good people, who only need a safe place to stay while they come to terms with the world as it really is. The looters generally won't leave their loot, for fear that someone will do to them what they did to someone else. I predict that, as a direct result of the mess in Louisiana, there will be a resurgence in militia and local posse membership. Now that we have seen Americans turning into animals, a lot of Joe Sixpacks are going to look around and realize that the only way to protect their families and their homes will be by turning into Joe SixGUN. Expect a lot of the towns near New Orleans to openly support these groups as they form or come back to life.

Britain: Abortion laws too lax: "Powerful public support for an overhaul of the 40-year-old abortion laws has emerged from a Daily Telegraph survey of the nation's attitudes to the key ethical and moral issues of the day. Only 27 per cent of those questioned believed that the current 24-week legal limit for termination should be retained. Fifty eight per cent said abortions should not be carried out after the 20th week of pregnancy, with women more likely than men to favour tighter controls"

Phenomenal economic turnaround under GWB: "We are currently within a hair's breadth of achieving 5 million new jobs since the president's tax cuts were fully implemented in May 2003. If we hit it this month, that would mean 5 million jobs in 28 months. When the new jobs numbers are reported four weeks from now, maybe it will be time for the administration to crow a little bit. Perhaps the reason President Bush has had so much trouble selling his admirable Social Security reform plan is that so many people think his economic performance is weak. But perhaps so many people think this way because the press systemically tells them so"

Oil for Food scam: $12 Bn illegally misallocated; Kofi Annan's son was involved in a $64Bn contract but Dad apologises and keeps his job. The UN secretary general's behaviour, and the "free ride" liberals have given him compares poorly to the standards of ethics demanded in your average democracy. Peter Reith lost his job as an Australian federal minister because his son used $50,000 worth of calls on a government phonecard. UN practice is at the banana republic level.

Carnival of the Vanities is up again -- but a bit over-clever and thus hard to follow.

For more postings, see EDUCATION WATCH, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE. Mirror sites here, here, here, here and here. And on Social Security see Dick McDonald


Practically all policies advocated by the Left create poverty. Leftists get the government to waste vast slabs of the country's labour-force on bureaucracy and paperwork and so load the burden of providing most useful goods and services onto fewer and fewer people. So fewer useful goods and services are produced to go around. That is no accident. The Left love the poor. The Left need the poor so that they can feel good by patronizing and "helping" them. So they do their best to create as many poor people as possible.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch)

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