When I was four years old I wanted to be a postman. All I wanted to do was walk around all day, posting letters. It seemed like a nice job. And at weekends I would play cricket, I thought. A cricketing postman – that was the outer limit of my dreams when I was a child. It’s not like I had no ambition at all. I didn’t want to be a paperboy. That would’ve been beneath me. That shows among other things that I shared a delivery-employee hierarchy with Germany’s lawmakers. The Bundestag members decided this week that newspaper deliverers were exempt from the minimum wage law they just passed. Unlike people who bring you pizza or IKEA beds or letters, people who get up at four in the morning to get you your Tagesspiegel have to wait till the end of the “transition period”, and are only allowed to get their €8.50 an hour as of January 1, 2017, not 2015.
But these minimum wage exceptions – others were under-18s and the long-term unemployed – didn’t stop the head of the Bundesbank Jens Weidmann from deciding that the government’s half-hearted attempt to give people who work a slight chance of getting to the end of the month with enough food was going to destroy Germany’s economy. Companies are going to create fewer jobs, he warned – best to let them depress wages, force postmen to apply for welfare to make ends meet, and generally reduce humanity to a grovelling mass. That way we can keep the unemployment figures down.
But the baffling thing is that Weidmann even admitted that stats from other countries suggest that the minimum wage doesn’t raise unemployment, but he dismissed this by saying “it threatens to burden the employment dynamic.” Threatens to burden his secret ideology, more like: maybe one day, bankers will just admit they’re in favour of slavery. They’ll blurt it out at some banquet where they’re using Hartz IV Empfängers as human torches to light the vaulted arches of their vast underground lair in the secret hollow part of the Earth’s crust. “Unemployment was probably never a problem in the antebellum days,” they’ll mutter as they burp and pick their teeth with children’s bones.