Germany: Social Democrat Party Chairman Kurt Beck Draws Criticism Amongst Contempt for Unemployed
The Chairman of the German SPD social democrat party, Kurt Beck, has drawn strong criticism amongst remarks delivered by him in a public appearance on Wednesday.
At a Christmas-market, Beck told an unemployed person who protested the social democrat/centre right grand coalition government's labour market policies that if he "just took a shower and shave" he could be in work within three weeks.
The protester criticized the so-called "Hartz-IV" reform of labour market policies, effectively marking the departure of Germany from the welfare state model towards an Anglo-American model of economics and labour market policy. Amongst other measures, payment of unemployment benefits was drastically reduced, while the hoped for savings were sunk by a growing hydrocephalus of state beaurocracy, resulting in a combination of the worst aspects of the European and American models.
The Hartz-IV reforms had been introduced by the social democrat predecessor to the current government, headed by former chancellor Schroder.
While the middle class is fast-vanishing in German society, the German social downturn and societal rifts were accelerated by the accession of the Eastern European member states to the European Union in 2002. Corporate Europe has come to use the close neighbours as a means of having cheap labour readily available in Western Europe's backyard, effectively resulting in a blackmail situation for empolyees to which all German governments have bowed so far.
Beck's remarks in this respect only mark another way point in the all but complete detachment of the political class conceived by a majority of Germans, of whom only 40% trust in the country's political model, democracy and its institutions according to polls recently conducted.