The Corner

Goodnight, Vienna

Europeans may not be raising any new families but they’re certainly very attached to their old ones:

An Austrian woman lived with the mummified remains of her aunt for a year, Vienna police said Wednesday.

Officers found the corpse of the 96-year-old aunt under a blanket on a bed after ignoring the 51-year-old niece’s claim that her aunt was sleeping and should not be disturbed, a police statement said…. Austrian news agency APA quoted police investigator Gerald Hoebart as saying possible theft was being looked into since the younger woman appeared to have lived off her aunt’s pension since the death and used her cashpoint card to withdraw money.

There’s a similar incident I recount in America Alone: A fellow in Marseilles was charged with fraud because he lived with the dead body of his mother for five years in order to continue receiving her pension of 700 euros a month. She was 94 when she croaked, so, like this Viennese aunt, she’d presumably been enjoying the old government check for a good three decades or so, which is unsustainable enough as it is. But but her son figured he might as well keep the dough rolling in until her second century. As the Reuters headline put it:

Frenchman Lived With Dead Mother To Keep Pension. 

That’s almost too perfect a summation of Europe: entitlement addiction over demographic reality.

Mark Steyn — Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist. That’s to say, his latest book, After America (2011), is a top-five bestseller in ...

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