Hartz IV is an Inhumane Cruelty

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Germany is doing well. The Germans are fine. That is the political tenor, that is being circulated in the media. But is that really true? The answer is a bit like “Radio Yerevan”: Yes, but …

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Infografik: Kinderarmut steigt in den meisten Bundesländern | Statista Mehr Infografiken finden Sie bei Statista

Hidden poverty is on the rise and spreading rapidly in Germany. One reason for this is the rising cost of living in relation to wage levels – and particularly the cost of rent. Germany is a country with a surprisingly low home ownership rate. The majority of Germans live for rent.

While the average home ownership rate in Europe was 70.1% in 2014, it was only 52.4% in Germany at the same time. In 2018 the situation has worsened again: in western Germany the rate was only 49% and in eastern Germany even only 33%.

Why is that of interest for the topic “Hartz IV”?

Hartz IV is one of the most cruel and despised concepts to make high unemployment rates affordable and to cultivate and promote the low paid sector with broken people. This may sound harsh and some may disagree because Hartz IV is presented as a successful concept. In fact, however, it is seldom asked what this success should actually be.

In my circle of acquaintances there are people who have lost their job. Partly as a result of economic difficulties faced by their previous employers, partly as a result of restructuring and reorganization, partly as a result of fate or further education.

Some of these people have failed to find a new job within a year, despite alleged skills shortages and excellent academic training combined with years of work experience. These people are now treated according to the Hartz IV laws and since they are part of my circle of friends and acquaintances, I learn a lot about how they are treated.

I say it frankly: I lack any respect, understanding and will to tolerate existing conditions. I find it totally unacceptable how staff members of the relevant authorities deal promptly with people who are seldom voluntarily in their situation, and certainly not happy with it. There is a lack of respect, decency, empathy and socially acceptable manners on a broad front.

How can you imagine that? As a recipients of Hartz IV, so the subsistence minimum (!), From the perspective of no fewer employees of the competent offices is a parasite, an unworthy person, someone who only costs and therefore deserves no respect, which can be arbitrarily put under pressure.

It regularly breaks the law. Hartz IV recipients are already in many places insufficient subsistence minimum cut. They are often ousted from their homes and their social environment and thus virtually deported when the rental costs are above the maximum limits – even if it is only a few euros. Even in the expensive cities, where there is hardly affordable housing.

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The competent authorities seldom follow the principle of economy. They rather pay for an expensive move, ignore the psychological and social consequences for those affected, and accept the money that is being reduced by the so-called repression in Hartz IV ghettos, in the outskirts, in the circulation, and the chances on the job market: Because especially for highly qualified workers, there are only a few jobs outside the metropolitan areas.

But it’s not primarily about integrating those affected back into the first job market. It’s not about seriously helping them find a job that matches their qualifications – it’s about minimizing the cost of unemployment.

Sometimes it’s about reducing the cost of your own community or city by forcing them out into other communities. In doing so, it is accepted that the chances of re-integration into the first job market continue to decline.

Most then let inappropriate, poorly paid and dubious offers are not coming. Whoever rejects them risks again cutting back on what is considered a subsistence level, forcing those affected to file suit before the courts, where they are regularly granted justice.

Among them suffer the affected considerably. On the one hand, there is the latent compulsion to accept any work – even if it does not generate an income from which a life is possible. On the other hand, the constant fear of homelessness, cuts in many places already insufficient means and permanent harassment and disregard by the employees of the offices.

The chicane goes so far that reimbursements of expenses are unlawfully denied or delayed inadmissible, the content unnecessarily appointments for personal audition are scheduled, which could also have been done by phone. However, this can also go as far as the arbitrary suspension of any payment against which you must appeal again.

Do you think that Hartz IV is enough? Think again!

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Of course, it may be that in my circle of acquaintances only exceptional cases are to be found and in the national average, the situation may look very different – but I lack the belief in it. It also makes perfect sense to treat people in this way, if you pursue two objectives: on the one hand, to make unemployment as cheap as possible, on the other hand, hardly viable “companies” that do not want or can not pay adequate wages, forced there supplying candidates who are about to become available.

Although this may not have been the original idea in the development of the Hartz IV laws, that is the impression that can arise from the practice in my environment.

There are two interesting infographic that I would like to show. They show that poverty is more harmful than high blood pressure and that unemployed persons have a much higher risk of poverty.

Infografik: Armut ist gefährlicher als Adipositas oder Bluthochdruck | Statista Mehr Infografiken finden Sie bei Statista

Infografik: Arbeitslose haben ein höheres Armutsrisko | Statista Mehr Infografiken finden Sie bei Statista

Little attention is paid to the side effects … The forced displacement of people from apartments, which may be only slightly above the intended, these apartments are returned to the open market and consequently usually much more expensive re-rented – this is the practice also an indirect contribution to the absurdly rising rents. And that makes it even harder for sufferers to regain their footing where work can be found for them.

I am shocked by the descriptions of how people are treated in the offices. How inhumane Employees who care for and support people seeking help and need help, who are economically and usually also psychologically bad, treat these people. With what cynicism and with what disdain do you meet these people and how little is theirs fundamentally that these people feel better again …

In fact, that is a kind of institutional discrimination and exclusion that is unworthy of a developed country and for which one can only feel great shame.

The biggest disgrace lies in the fact that the employees of the competent authorities, who regularly violate the law or treat the job-seeker with disdain and heartlessness, need hardly fear the consequences of their actions. On the one hand, those affected are systematically worn down and defend themselves only when it becomes substantial; on the other, there are hardly any penalties that would deter responsible employees in the competent authorities.

An example that has stuck in my mind is that of a person who has a university degree, has further qualified through a privately funded MBA program, has more than a decade of in-depth professional experience and, despite everything, has not found a job in his own hometown Has. A highly qualified person with work experience.

This person has an apartment whose rent is about 200 EUR above the planned rate. However, the responsible employee of the authority does not want to pay for this – she wants that person to move out. Does not matter where. It does not interest the lady. Nor does this lady care if this person has even less chance of a decent job.

The height of shamelessness and lack of decency, however, becomes apparent when one considers the following: The aforementioned person has received an offer for an internship in another city. Limited to 6 months. Naturally, this job is not paid for lavishly, and with a limited internship it will be difficult or even impossible to get an apartment in the other city, which will then be financially within the scope of what is granted.

Nevertheless, they want to force this person to evacuate their own homes in the middle of the internship and without a clear perspective for a permanent position, and thus deliberately bring about the very high risk of homelessness. One also graces the reimbursement of the necessary expenses. And there is no help in finding accommodation.

How is a person treated in this way? How about someone who gets a small chance and is still sabotaged by the authorities, which should actually help him to find a job subject to social insurance and to turn them from the beneficiary to the tax and contribution payer? How is someone who, with the specific threat of homelessness, without a secure job perspective, has to start an internship in a new city?

I find it difficult to put myself in the position of this person, since I did not have to experience it myself (luckily). However, it fills me with compassion for the person concerned and with great anger towards the relevant authorities.

In my opinion, such an experience changes people. Either they break and fit into their destiny until they eventually run into the poverty of old and slowly die. Or they become hard and bitter. Or they become angry and act irrationally …

After all, the latter option has been prepared by using conspicuously large numbers of security personnel in the authorities and making access to buildings and offices difficult – although this would probably not be necessary if assistance was provided to those who are not usually there voluntarily and treated them with respect and decency.

Basically, the contingent of security forces is an indirect admission of guilt and in my opinion should also be the occasion to feel shame and to rethink the Hartz IV laws. They are inhumane and cruel.

Hartz concept

The Hartz concept, also known as Hartz reforms or the Hartz plan, is a set of recommendations submitted by a committee on reforms to the German labour market in 2002. Named after the head of the committee, Peter Hartz, these recommendations went on to become part of the German government's Agenda 2010 series of reforms, known as Hartz I – Hartz IV. The committee devised thirteen "innovation modules", which recommended changes to the German labour market system. These were then gradually put into practice: The measures of Hartz I – III were undertaken between January 1, 2003, and 2004, while Hartz IV was implemented on January 1, 2005. The "Hartz Committee" was founded on February 22, 2002, by the federal government of Germany led then by Gerhard Schröder. Its official name was Kommission für moderne Dienstleistungen am Arbeitsmarkt (Committee for Modern Services in the Labour Market). The 15-member committee was chaired by Peter Hartz, then Volkswagen's personnel director.

Source: Wikipedia

mm About Axel Napolitano Hobby producer, DJ, certified scrum master, gadgeteer and coffee-addicted. A solid 18+ years experience within the IT industry and a strong track in all relevant roles from development to architecture makes him unique.
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