Saturday, December 04, 2010

"Der Gründungszuschuß"

brooklynbadboy (Kos-front page):
One of the fascinating things I learned about during my trip to Germany last September is that funny-looking word in the title (pronounced something like "grun dungs zoo shooss"). As Harold Meyerson pointed out in The Washington Post, Germany's economy is kicking butt. Republicans, of course, hate this. To them, a big government, heavily unionized, social democracy like Germany is supposed to be the poster child for the wrong way to do things. Yet Germany prospers. But here's something even they would have difficulty arguing with: Germany's government helps the unemployed start businesses with start-up capital. Maybe we should consider giving something like this a try.

Der Gründungszuschuss roughly translates into "start-up grant." It is a program for the unemployed that gives a monthly amount of seed capital for those on unemployment. The grant is means-tested and is paid on top of unemployment, health and other benefits. For example, a married couple with children can get a grant up to just under $32,000! A single person who is unemployed and has no children can get up to just over $25,000. The benefits are paid out over a period of nine months. After that, there is an extension of benefits called the "building phase" that pays an additional $400 per month for six months.

The German government expects that 20 to 30 percent of these businesses will fail. No matter. As policy, they've decided that they'd rather have people with an entrepreneurial bent out doing something rather than sitting around. MORE...
Howie P.S.: Great idea. Too many morons in the Beltway for it to happen.

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