Dear Governments: Why Don’t You Think Harder – Before Coming Up With New Legislation?

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As I see it, ever more doubtful bills are passed quicker and quicker and with less and less diligence. This is true on the Bavarian, German, and European level.

Let me illustrate it using some harmless examples – harmless because probably nobody has ever been truly or severely punished or suffered from any of those bills. And they probably never caused any serious misery.

Among other things, I am talking the Culturally Valuable Goods Law, which they want to reform and make stricter, the Tele-Media-Law with its Disrupter Accountability (which is about accountability when using WLAN) and, last not least, the very controversial Tariff-Unity-Law.

The first of these three bills has been passed on August, 10th, 1955. It was supposed to prevent the total sell-out of German sacrosanct objects of historical and artistic value. It was probably a reaction to measures taken by countries such as Egypt who wanted to make it harder for foreign countries to steel their historic objects of art.

Now they want to modernize it – and even in this phase, they started a debate that, basically, makes clear what nonsense the bill is. For me, the question comes to mind: why do we not take a closer look at these laws before modernizing them? And why do we not ask ourselves what benefit and what damage these laws caused? Basically, we all know that all laws that have no use are detrimental by their very existence. And why are we not courageous enough to just abolish a law that has no use, anyway?

But no: instead of sweeping through, they come up with new useless laws all the time. Because they feel it would be a little too courageous to just abolish laws. But why?

In the same way, the issue of “disrupter accountability” as part of the Tele-Media-Law only causes misery. On my travels, I am often fascinated to see how unproblematic access to the internet is in many countries. But woe to the person who enters Germany …

To me, it also seems that disrupter accountability is one of those topics that particularly appeals to the outcry for security and the distrust culture of our civilized world, but also to the German mentality (German “angst”?). Who of us would want strangers to be given a right to trespass through our property?

The Tariff Unity Law is another example. Another nonstarter. Let me cite from Wikipedia:
Starting with July, 10th, 2015, we have the Tariff Unity Law in Germany. It says that, if labour agreements collide in one enterprise, only the tariff agreement of the union which had most members when the last agreement was signed can be applied. The law was subjected to strong criticism both from unions and the opposition and has been made the object of several constitutional complaints.

There was no chance to see if this law is doing any good. Because, sadly, it will probably never be installed. After all, even the first case it was used on turned out a failure. I am talking the argument between the GDL (Gewerkschaft der Lokomotivführer) and the Bahn AG. Well, basically this tariff argument was why the law had been instituted.

So what happened? The only reason why the opposing parties could agree during the mediation talks (incidentally, the mediator was a county governor from “the Leftist Party”) was that they both agreed that the law was never going to be put into practice. This is how the road was paved for the agreement.

For me, this sounds a lot like:
I write a program for a customer. And the first thing he does is agree to never use it. Well, would that not be a reason to start having doubts about the performance of my program …

Incidentally, there are other bills that have never been applied in practice. One of them is the Employee Involvement Law. In the spring of 2010, the Great Coalition decided to make it very attractive tax-wise if employees get more encouragement to invest in the enterprise. It is a rather complex law – and as far as I know, it has never been applied.
Both this and the aforementioned topics are hardly ever mentioned these days. The same is true for the Road Charge Law – the discussion of which was not that long ago either.

In fact, I believe that legislation is one of the areas where the simple wisdom “less is more” should be applied. But what we do is the opposite. Both the European and the national clouds let one law after the other rain on us. And quite a few announcements will give us pause like thunder and lightning. For instance, Frau Nahles wants a new regulation for “Fake Self-Employment”. She declared that the goal is to make sure everyone in our society actually pays into the social security insurance.

Well, I am absolutely sure that nothing good can come of this. I already look forward to seeing the results.

(Translated by EG)

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