The Corner

Auf Wiedersehen

Paging Mark Steyn. In Germany, where I lived for years, they’re thinking about taxing young people for the privilege of supporting old people in the style to which they’ve become accustomed. It’s the “social contract” in action:

Germany is proposing to levy extra taxes on the young to pay for the costs of the country’s growing numbers of old people, under government plans for a ‘’demographic reserve’’ levy.

Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats have drafted proposals that, if law, would require all those over 25 to pay a proportion of their income to cushion Germany against a looming population crisis.

The German Chancellor’s ruling party is seeking extra sources of revenue to pay for soaring pensions and bills for social care costs as Germany’s ‘’baby boomer’’ generation ages amid a decline in the birth rate.

Utterly predictable, of course, especially in the land of Kinderfeindlichkeit. The Germans never really thought this whole la dolce vita thing through. They believed that, via a combination of the American nuclear umbrella and NATO forces (which meant they could cut their defense budget to nearly nothing) and the Teutonic ability to extract a stunning portion of worker salaries to spend on the “safety net” — a safety net that included months-long vacations, free medical care, and trips to spas — they could enter the work force at 28, retire at 50 and spend the rest of their lives in Italy or Greece at someone else’s expense. Nice work if you can get it. But now the party’s over:

Because of a slump in Germany’s population, as more ageing Germans retire there are fewer young workers to replace them as taxpayers to fund generous welfare and pension arrangements.

Estimates from Germany’s federal employment agency predict that the workforce will be reduced by 7 million people by 2025.

And this is the future Obama and the Democrats wish for us. If a country that boasts as much brain power as Germany couldn’t see this coming, what chance do we have? Then again, maybe folks in Washington do. . .

Michael Walsh — Mr. Walsh is the author of the novels Hostile Intent and Early Warning and, writing as frequent NRO contributor David Kahane, Rules for Radical Conservatives.


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