Tuesday, February 01, 2005

No Prostitution = No Welfare Benefits in Germany?

"If you don't take a job as a prostitute, we can stop your benefits."

I'm fairly certain that the above story in the Telegraph does not require extensive comment to demonstrate its utter absurdity, but I think the real question is to what extent government policy can address less extreme problems of welfare reform. An unwillingness to sell sex for money is only an extreme example of a willingness to give of yourself in the service of others. (somehow that sentence sounds a bit too moderate). Anyway, what does the government do in circumstances where an individual refuses to work in a steakhouse because he/she is a vegetarian and would be required to handle meat? It's almost a certainty that many vegetarians would be strongly repulsed by a requirement to work at a slaughterhouse in order to maintain their benefits, and certainly many people who would say that such an individual is taking advantage of Europe's very lenient welfare system.

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