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23rd of November, 2017

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Democracy in Reverse


Can you think of something that the government does, that everyone hates? Something that’s completely unnecessary for the further functioning of State or economy, and yet places a substantial burden on the general populace? Here in Germany, we have something called the GEZ, or Gebühreneinzugszentrale. I would link it, but these bastards are like the IRS, CAIR, and the RIAA all rolled into one; as such, they probably wear out their Sitemeter looking for referrals from people bitching about them. Everybody who doesn’t depend on it for their living despises the GEZ.


What is it?


The GEZ is the extra-governmental body in Germany that collects the monthly registration fees for televisions, computers, and just about anything else you can think of. If you have a television, a radio, or pretty much anything else that can send or receive information, you have to pay a monthly fee. For your first television or combo radio/television device, you’re required to pay €17.03 (US$21.82) per month. A radio costs €5.52 (US$7.07). For an Internet-capable PC, that’s another €17.03 (for now) starting in January. For a private home, with radio, television and Internet-capable computers, that’s a whopping €39.58 (US$50.70) per month.


Where does it go?


Gez-Gesamtertraege2005


In 2005, as you can see, the GEZ took in 7.12 billion* (with a “b”) Euros in fees. Considering there are about 80 million people in Germany, that’s almost 100 Euros for every man, woman, and child in the country. According to the GEZ’s web page, the loot was divided as follows:


Picture 2-1


(Note: in German, commas and periods have reversed meaning; e.g., 5.000 means five thousand.)


As you can see, ARD alone received 5.247 billion euros (US$6.7 billion) which were extracted from Germany’s residents by force, under threat of fines and imprisonment. Every organization on this list is beneath contempt. They are pirates by proxy, benefitting from the plunder of the hard-working people of Germany.


What the fuck?!


Good question. The rationalization for all this is, “the establishment and maintenance of independent media for the general public.” This is a bit of doublespeak that Orwell would’ve been proud of . It’s actually the opposite of independent, since it’s money dispensed by a central, government-controlled organization, extorted from members of the public, who have no choice.


All it really achieves is the destruction of the television market in Germany through what amounts to slave labor, and the strangling off of independent news sources that aren’t beholden to Berlin or the GEZ. For instance, GEZ-supported news sources rarely run stories that are embarrassing to the government, or question its policies. And it’ll be a cold day in Hell before they’ll criticize the GEZ directly.


All any political party would need to do to gain power in Germany is promise to disband the GEZ, so hated are they. The so-called libertarians at the FDP, unfortunately, forgot to make it a point during the last election.


---

* - billion in the American sense of 1000 million, not the British million-million.

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