Tuesday 1 February 2005

The welfare state.

Traditionally, the Law of Unintended Consequences is meant to refer to things that one couldn't reasonably have predicted. Who would have known, for instance, that burning fossil fuels in Britain could contribute to avalanches in the Alps? These days, perhaps it should be renamed the Law of Unconsidered Consequences, or maybe the Law of Slapdash Legislation.

Here's the latest government weeze from Germany:

A 25-year-old waitress who turned down a job providing "sexual services'' at a brothel in Berlin faces possible cuts to her unemployment benefit under laws introduced this year.

Prostitution was legalised in Germany just over two years ago and brothel owners - who must pay tax and employee health insurance - were granted access to official databases of jobseekers.

The waitress, an unemployed information technology professional, had said that she was willing to work in a bar at night and had worked in a cafe.

She received a letter from the job centre telling her that an employer was interested in her "profile'' and that she should ring them. Only on doing so did the woman, who has not been identified for legal reasons, realise that she was calling a brothel.

Under Germany's welfare reforms, any woman under 55 who has been out of work for more than a year can be forced to take an available job - including in the sex industry - or lose her unemployment benefit.

This should help to solve Germany's welfare funding crisis. Stop paying benefits to anyone who refuses to become a prostitute. I reckon there are a lot of savings to be made there.

It gets better.

Job centres that refuse to penalise people who turn down a job by cutting their benefits face legal action from the potential employer.

Let's just run through that again, shall we? If you are unemployed, you have to give your details to the job centre. The job centre in turn have to give your details to any brothel who asks for them. The brothel's HR department can then order the job centre to order you to work for the brothel. If the job centre refuse, they are breaking the law and the brothel will sue them. If you refuse, you will lose your entitlement to state benefits and you will quickly become very poor — eventually poor enough that you'll start to consider taking the job.

Of course, there was an easy and obvious way to avoid this problem, but, apparently, it presented difficulties of its own.

The government had considered making brothels an exception on moral grounds, but decided that it would be too difficult to distinguish them from bars.

How can anyone simultaneously claim both that they can't tell the difference between a brothel and a bar and that they are fit to hold public office?

So, you may well be asking, why has the German Government taken the somewhat unconventional step of introducing enforced conscription into prostitution for the long-term unemployed?

Prostitution was legalised in Germany in 2002 because the government believed that this would help to combat trafficking in women

Of course.


Is it true? Isn't it? Or is it? Or not? Hmm.

No comments: