Duly Noted – Who Pays For What?



Allotments create takers and support well-paid bureaucracies.


A perceptive, inquisitive and respected friend inspires this week’s Duly Noted. Sam L., who manages his own business, heads a community level grass-roots organ of a Swiss political party. The material he sent circulated as a personal note and reveals a suppressed fact. His stumble into a reality that PC asks us to handle by covering it up resulted in the consternation of the surprised engineer. The same pertains to the addressees of the note.


A glance at the case should convince the reader of the truth of a popular wisdom: Indeed, “all politics are local”. Accordingly, global issues start in the boondocks where all of us happen to be located. Meanwhile, often unnoticed, the general trends connect all of us, and our experiences, and so they assert themselves here, there and everywhere.


Now, to the freely transcribed English rendition of the original note.


            “Have you ever asked yourself the question that presents itself here? It is common knowledge that countless persons are transported, mainly at night, in rickety boats to Europe from North Africa. This is a great business for the organizers of these undertakings.

            A short time ago, I hosted a practical trainee from Eritrea in my business. I have asked him how he had managed to come to Switzerland. He told me that the route led him from Eritrea, through the Sudan to Libya and from there by boat to Italy with the trek ending as planned in Switzerland. The crossing of the sea was especially expensive as it cost $ 2000.00 per person. (Several annual incomes, /G.H. /.)

In the course of our talks, the trainee repeatedly complained that he has too little money to live. My resulting inquiries revealed that his family of four receives about CHF 4,400.00 ($ 5000.00) in welfare payments from our social services. (The average earned income is just a tad above that amount /GH/).That made me wonder why the young man is complaining.

Beyond that, I also discovered that he has several relatives and acquaintances living here. The aggregate made me realize; Eritreans save to send money home until enough is accumulated to enable the next family to pay the smugglers. How else would a family with a yearly income of $ 450.00 afford the price? Once a new family is settled here, the collective savings are bolstered. This goes on until the entire clan can set up house. 

Once here, the clan is likely to organize itself as an entity outside of society. I could be wrong in my assumption but the depicted mechanism suggests to me that it is a plausible conclusion.  Thus, at least indirectly, our social services and the federal refugee agencies are the ones that pay for the Libyan smugglers of economic migrants.  Ultimately this is to the disadvantage of authentic refugees that should, for moral reasons, find asylum in Switzerland”.


Sam continues, “You might want to peruse the attached report of a court case”. Regardless of PC mandated self-censorship, tales comparable to this one abound in the softened renditions in the media. “It is yet another example of how our taxes and welfare system are abused. (A shortened version follows /GH/.)”


A 39-year old is in court. He has not declared his illegal income and accumulated a little fortune through this ruse. The accused came from Bosnia claiming to be a refugee of the wars that dissolved Yugoslavia. Soon after settling, he managed to get a pension because he claimed to have become an invalid.


As an operator of a market stand, the father of five had a monthly profit of CHF 2000.00 (/1 CHF = $1.10/.) He took in another thousand repairing electronic equipment to be sold. At times, the invalid made another thousand as a mover. With that, the self-made success story ends. That is because the accused, officially half incapacitated, also received 1,200 from the state. Additional help from the same agency amounted monthly to 4,400 for his wife and children. The size of aid from the welfare services of the city of Zürich are, due to the protection of privacy, unknown. Additional government aid paid for the costs of health insurance and of an apartment.


As the result of these various money sources, bank holdings of CHF 276,000.00 were accumulated. Most of this money was deposited in a children’s protected account. The family also possessed two large American cars, a motorcycle and a motor scooter. The police found in the flat of the accused valuables estimated to be worth CHF 300,000.00. It was not ascertained whether these items were legally acquired or stolen.


During the course of the trial, the wife of the accused – during the investigation she was apprehended for shoplifting – pleaded that incarceration would be like a death sentence to her. Therefore, she asked for a second chance. She claimed that she did not know that the family’s extra income had to be declared. Not having done so was “a mistake from which she had learned”. This writer does not know the judicial resolution of the case. In many ways, that specific is of little importance.


Of importance is what such cases infer and what everyone knows to be true. The support provided by the political systems of advanced economies is abused. This is especially so because of the functionaries that disperse aid. These are uninterested in any effort to curb abuse. Bureaucracy tolerates client abuse because the management of official misery provides its administrators with plush jobs.


Here the, by some celebrated and by others suppressed, case of two social workers comes to mind. They turned whistle blowers because of a brazen case soft-pedaled by their superiors involving “refugees” on welfare that could afford luxury automobiles. What they got was a prize for their civic courage and a pink slip. Actually, cheating is greatly facilitated because unmasking it is quickly labeled as “racism”. Exploiting that, the few cheaters that are caught like to base their defense on official disinterest. Such laxity is supposed to have been taken as a tempting signal that led these chiselers to assume informal tolerance for their actions.


In Europe, not all countries are equally rich and therefore cannot afford identical proportions of waste. Furthermore, the policies regulating the dispersal of aid diverge. Dissimilarities exist regarding the severity of sanctions, the intensity of enforcement and the quality of jails. Two recently visiting Nigerian policemen – Nigerians control the local drug trade – might have been ignorant of PC etiquette. Therefore, upon ending their stay in Switzerland, they spoke their mind. They called their host’s system an incomprehensible, “paradise” for criminals.


A new statistic that tells of a connection between material support and the ease by which refugee status is granted to economic migrants who would never be admitted as immigrants. A detail deserves inclusion. For every million of their population, the Swiss have at any moment 3403 immigration applicants. Sweden tops that at 3513. The figure is 1887 for Austria, 844 in the Netherlands, Germany has 694, Britain weighs in with 433, and Italy scores 310. For the sake of a perspective, the reader may project the numbers on his own country. In the case of the USA, 310 million divided by, shall we say, 3000 is 930,000. It is not only the correlation of these numbers with the ease by which admission to the good life can be attained that makes one concerned. We need to realize that there is a reservoir of scores of millions of enterprising candidates. These are naturally attracted to the credulous welfare state that is an arduous march and a boat ride away. With that in mind, one wonders how a growing trend, fueled by the mindless disregard of the obligations of mutual solidarity, might be arrested.

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