Annoyances: Part V – Can You Spare Some Change?

I don’t like beggars, I really don’t.  In a large city like the one I live in it’s not entirely unusal that they’re there, and if you spend a lot of time in the city centre you pretty much “know” all of them. But lately, it seems like there’s an invasion new ones, a kind of gypsies I think, and they’re freakin’ everywhere! Out on the street, on public transportation, in supermarkets, you name it and they’re there. And not all of them are actually “active” beggars. There’s one young woman, one of the new ones, who just sits there holding up a paper cup. All day.

Those people piss me off beyond belief. Feel free to think I’m a bad person for feeling that way, but I just want to go up to them and tell them to get a fucking job like normal people do. In fact, I think that might happen some time soon. Either that, or I’m going to have a career switch, because those people make *a lot* of money. My brother told me the other day that one of them, a creepy old lady, comes into the store he works at to exchange approximately €200,- worth of coins into bills. Can you believe that shit?

That woman is one of many beggars on my way home, so I guess I should be used to ignoring them, but I’m not. Yesterday, I had two encounters. The first one was with a familiar guy who’s a druggie, and I think he’s been around forever. He asked me and le man for some change, and I said “no, I’m sorry”. When the beggar left, my boyfriend asked me why in hell I said “sorry” in the first place (he just said “no”). To be honest, I don’t know. I guess it’s an automated response, because I say it every damn time, although I truly am not sorry.

The second encounter was a bit worse. It was on the parking lot of a supermarket, and we were on our way home when a woman on an electric scooter asked us for an euro. The way I see it, anyone on an electric scooter who isn’t an elderly, is a lazy piece of shit. Now I do have to nuance this a little, before y’all think I’ve completely lost my mind; there’s a specific kind of people who own these scooters. I think the best way to describe that type so that everybody understands what I mean is inbred white trash. They don’t work, live off welfare and reproduce like rabbits but don’t take the trouble to actually raise their children. And guess who pays for all those scooters they ride? Exactly…

Anyway, this particular specimen was on a scooter and wearing Nikes. Nikes, for fuck’s sake! I wanted to yell at her that she should get off her lazy ass and sell her freaking scooter so badly, but of course the only reply I had was “no, sorry”. After that I got into a rather funny discussion on the subject with le man, contemplating if it was a good idea to ask for a specific amount as opposed to leaving it open. I guess that’s the analyst in me, and it pairs very well with him being a marketing guy. We’d make the perfect beggar, haha!

The last few days have really left me wondering… Am I wrong in wondering why I should give out my hard earned cash to people who don’t even try to earn a living and/or buy drugs with it anyway? Am I a bad person for refusing to sponsor that shit? And, even more important, are the crazy gypsies going to curse my ass for refusing to spare some change?

What do you think?

Thanks for reading, I hope I haven’t bored you with this rant today!

Love,

ML-X

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Crazy Dutchies: Part II

Our politicians have lost their minds. Supposedly, we need to cut back approximately 10 billion euros this year, on top of the cutbacks we’re already got. I guess that makes sense, if you (as a country) spend more than you actually have. I mean, just look at Greece and the shit they’re in these days. So fine, let’s cut back on a few things. Our politicians have already made a list of stuff to cut back on or make more money from:

1. Health Care
We used to have a really good health care system. Everybody over 18 used to pay an x-amount monthly, and in return, when they get ill, a lot of the expenses were covered. This system changed a little bit when I turned 18, with the main change being the monthly rate; it went up from around €40,- a month, to €100,- a month. On top of that, they decided that the “base insurance” was mandatory; everybody who didn’t have one, would get a fine. You did get to choose if you wanted any extra insurances, because the base one didn’t quite cover everything. You could also get some money back after a year if your expenses stayed under €250,- that year. In the years after that, the monthly rate went up and up and up while the base insurance covered less and less, and they even had a new idea: a mandatory “own risk” thing. The “own risk” was a kind of threshold; if you stayed under an x amount (it started around €120, and this year it’s €220), you had to pay most of your medical expenses yourself. Everything above that amount would be covered IF it was in your insurance kit. I guess this is “good” when your expenses are way over that threshold all the time, but I, for instance, spend maybe €60,- a year, if anything. So I pay €130 a month for a year, only to pay all my expenses myself anyway. Where’s the point in that? But it gets better: To make their cutbacks possible, they want to raise the “own risk” policy with another 25% next year. All in all, the mandatory insurances get more expensive, cover less, and when you’re not terminally ill you’re screwed. Way to go!

2. VAT (taxes)
Almost every country has a certain rate of VAT you pay over everything you buy. Here in the Netherlands, it’s either 6% (on food) or 19% (“luxury goods” like clothes and everything that’s not food). As if it’s not bad enough that 33%-52% of your well-earned salary goes to the tax administration office! And now they’re even thinking of raising the VAT rates! But wait, it gets even better…

3. Salaries
They want to freeze salaries! So combined with point #2 here, we’ll earn the same money, give the same amount to the tax administrations, and then give some more to them through VAT. What the fuck? Please do note that these ideas come from people who earn what, 300K yearly. If I had that amount of money, I wouldn’t mind freezing it either. The average yearly income for the rest of us is around €33.000 this year.

4. Mortgage
They’re bitching that the economy is so bad, that people hardly buy houses/apartments any more, but they want to skip the Mortgage Interest Deduction for everybody. The MID is a small amount (approximately €180 a month) you can get back from the tax administration office when you own a house/apartment. Despite being a small amount, it helps a lot of us; without it I wouldn’t be able to pay my bills, and a lot of people with me. And now they want to quit it. How can they expect that the rate of home sales can ever rise again? Sure, for people who have 50K houses it doesn’t matter, but again, what about the rest of us?

5. Education
The Netherlands were a pretty good country, educationwise. The government would cover an x amount of schooling money, leaving us with “only” a yearly fee of between €800 and €1700. This way, everybody who wanted to go to college, could do just that. Imagine all the possible benefits coming from us being super educated! But noooo… They’re cutting back on that as well. Partly, I understand: If you seriously need 5+ years to finish a 4-year college program, you’re stupid and wasting money anyway. But if you’re smart and super motivated and want to do another college course, you shouldn’t get screwed by having to pay €10.000 yearly to do that.

Days like this, I wish I was a politician. What I would do?

1. Cut back on politicians’ salaries. They don’t need 300K if the rest of us can manage with a lot less.
2. Take away the MID for houses over 4K. Again, a lot of us don’t even own a house that expensive.
3. Don’t buy the Joint Strike Fighter. We don’t need it. Hell, we don’t even have room for it.
4. Invest less in warfare.
5. Encourage education (within limits). Knowledge is power for a reason.

Anyway… Enough for today. Thanks for reading, I hope you’ve enjoyed part II of this series.

Love,

ML-X