Thursday, October 24, 2013

Satire Lags Behind Reality

(via)Once in a while newspapers get fooled by satire because it the premise of an article feels real, and the journalists do not take the time to fact check the story, and onion style stories can end up on in the news cycle. Yesterday the opposite happened. The Postillon, a German award-winning daily political satire homepage, wrote on the issue of more and more people being dependent on basic security at old age that one could increase the bottle deposit as a "social measure" supporting those collecting bottles. A premise which feels unreal, but is close enough to the position of German politicians that it will make an excellent satirical article. Well, sadly reality was faster.

The number of elderly dependent on basic security in Germany has increased by 35.6 percent from 2005 to 2012, according to Statistisches Bundesamt (destatis). The primary reason for this is the so called "Rentenreform" which is another example of cuts disguised as "reforms". Not only was the eligibility age increased, it is also a scheme to slowly decrease the real pensions by increasing them below the inflation rate every year.

Also, more and more people are trying to earn a bit more money by collecting bottles and cans from garbage. The deposit in Germany ranges from 8 cent for beer bottles to 25 cent for cans and non-refillable bottles.

So, the Postillon wrote a fake news article claiming that  the CDU came up with the idea to double the deposit to reduce the poverty among the elderly. Little did the writer know that just a few months earlier actual politicians really proposed such an increase for the same exact reason.

Leonart Kuckart (CDU):
When people are in need and are collecting bottles early in the morning to increase their basic security, then they should have something from that financially, too. [Not my mistake that this sounds strange this translation is as close as it gets]
He wasn't alone his party colleague Michael Paul argued:
Many people cannot make ends meet because of low wages and pensions. A large number therefore collects returnable bottles to improve their livelihood. They could directly profit from a higher deposit.
 And just like in the Postillon story, some in the SPD (Heinz Buschkowsky) also favored this idea.
And those who will [after increasing the deposit] still throw [bottles] away, will at least ensure that the collectors have better revenue.
So, if you ever wondered why Germans politicians don't really care about the misery they have helped cause in Greece, where disposable income fell by 29.5 percent compared to 2008, then you should look no further than how these "Christians" (yes the "C" stands for that) and the "social democrats" (the "S") "take care" of the poverty in their own country, which they have in part caused themselves with their "reforms". Some want to make digging through garbage more profitable as a solution for poverty. [Of course this idea won't even work since doubling the deposit, will reduce the number of bottles thrown away significantly, too.]

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