"Almost Beyond Human Power to Deal with This"

The Washington Post reports on chaos in Berlin.

“I read about how industrious and successful the Germans are,” said Hamadich, who worked as a lab technician in Damascus. “But this,” he said, using both hands to indicate the refugees bundling up for another night on the sidewalk, “is not working.”

Germany is trying to distribute refugees to its states, cities and towns based largely on population and tax revenue. The city of Berlin, for instance, is set to receive more than 5 percent of all those coming and is attempting to manage the arrival of more than 9,000 asylum seekers in just the past three weeks. Shelters are so full that some of the refugees are receiving vouchers for private hostels.

But volunteer aid workers say the city is so behind on payments that many hostels are no longer accepting the vouchers. A city spokeswoman said that she could neither confirm nor deny the problem but that the city is trying to make good on its payments as soon as possible.

The national and local governments are racing to hire thousands of new police officers and bureaucrats to manage refugees. Schools, meanwhile, are desperately looking for new teachers to help with an estimated 300,000 new students. Irina Wissmann, principal at Berlin’s An der Bäke Elementary School, said none of the 300 qualified instructors provided to her in a list by city officials were available to work. She said that with 20 new refugee students already and double that number expected by year’s end, she is afraid of surging class sizes as well as issues with traumatized children.

“This is going to be very difficult,” she said.

...Outside the capital, meanwhile, allegations of rape at refugee centers are emerging. In the central city of Giessen, officials are investigating four cases of sexual assault at one temporary shelter. Civic groups say there was a lack of proper separation between men and women at the facility.

Coming at a time when the Volkswagen emissions scandal is tainting the reputation of Germany as a country of law-abiding winners, the strains of the refugee crisis are challenging perceptions of national competence.

“The state has clearly nothing under control here,” said Leila El-Abcah, a volunteer with Moabit Helps, a refugee aid group in central Berlin. In the evenings, she is trying to guide some refugees on the streets to the private homes of people willing to offer them shelter for the night. “If it weren’t for the many volunteers,” she said, “nothing would work, everything would collapse.”


“We are talking about numbers for the past two weeks that we are normally seeing in one year,” she said. “It is almost beyond human power to deal with this.”

The system described in this article will have to feed and house one new city of Frankfurt every 10 weeks.

Albanians and Pakistanis (Why Are They Here?) Stage Hours-Long Riot in Kassel

Yesterday, there was an hours-long riot (g) in a migrant shelter near Kassel. Apparently the cause was an Albanian teenager hitting an 80-year-old Pakistani who the teen thought was cutting in line for food. The riot kept going in waves. Albanians and Pakistanis attacked each other with sticks, pipes, clubs, and tear gas.

Yes, the migrants have tear gas.

50 police were needed to break up the riot. Fourteen migrants and three police were injured, some seriously. Police have now separated the two nationalities. German officials are now calling for migrants to be separated on the basis of ethnicity. Meanwhile, the German police union notes that outbreaks of violence are a daily occurrence (g) in shelters. (h/t MM). Oh, and in the past years, Germany has eliminated 16,000 police jobs, just in time for the arrival of hundreds of thousands of violent young male strangers.

There are many, many questions raised by this latest riot (including how did migrants get tear gas?!) but I'll focus on just one: What are Albanians and Pakistanis doing taking up expensive, scarce space in German migrant shelters?

Albania, as I've pointed out before, is a peaceful, stable country and attractive vacation spot which is very prosperous by world standards, and has been receiving hundreds of millions of Euros in EU aid to get it ready for its admission to the European Union.

Pakistan is not at war, and has problems no more serious than dozens of other developing countries. Add to that the fact that Pakistan is far away from Germany, so only the middle class can afford the bribes necessary to get here. A recent Daily Mail article interviews a few:

It is the same story when I meet Janaid Jamshad, a 25-year-old former student.

Also from Lahore, he has been here for ten days. ‘I came to Germany first in 2013 and they pushed me out again,’ he says with a laugh. ‘I came back when I heard Mrs Merkel was opening the doors. I have claimed asylum and they are processing my application. Because I am young, I hope they will take me.’

Not that everything is rosy for him now. ‘The camp is overflowing,’ he says. ‘I have just been to the doctor in the shopping centre because I have a headache. Even there, there are queues of migrants waiting. The doctors at the camp will only give one pill at a time. So we find other places for medical help, and pay for it.’

Back in the Giessen curry house, I continue talking to asylum claimant Atif. ‘We think having children will help us,’ he says. ‘Our house is very big, and they give us money, too.’

I point out that Karachi, despite the political violence there, is not in a war zone.

He still hopes to persuade the authorities he is a genuine refugee, though, and hopes he won’t be returned to Pakistan because he now has no official national identity — in a deal with the smuggling gang, he handed them his own passport and those of his family when they arrived in Germany. They were the ‘payment’ in exchange for the family’s fake visas and will be used again to smuggle more customers into Europe.

Do these sound like victims of political persecution to you?

Why are they still here, rioting, firing tear gas, and injuring each other and long-suffering German police?

Religious Fanatics Threaten Yezidis and Christians in German Shelters

I remember when just a few short months ago, I was scorned -- scorned!! -- for suggesting that migrants to German would bring their conflicts with them, just like all migrants in history have always done everywhere.

How times have changed.

The Welt am Sonntag publishes a long piece (g) on religious intimidation in German refugee shelters. The culprits are usually Sunni Muslim extremists whose main targets are Christian and Yezidi migrants. Where they're in the majority, they insist all shelter residents follow Sharia law, and insult and threaten those who don't. To intimidate other religions, they chant the same Koran verses IS members recite before beheadings. Christians are not allowed to help prepare food.

In Hemer, Algerian migrants attacked Eritrean Christians with a glass bottle. In Freising, an Iraqi Christian family reported threats from a fanatical Syrian Muslim, who beat his children and threatened to kill the family and drink their blood. They eventually returned to Iraq. Christians from different camps in Germany reported that private security guards do little about these incidents, because the guards themselves are mostly Muslim.

Simon Jacob, leader of the German Council of Oriental Christians, says: "The number of unreported incidents is high. We must anticipate further conflicts that refugees bring from their homelands into Germany. Between Christians and Muslims. Between Shiites and Sunnis. Between Kurds and extremists. Between Yezidis and extremists."

Max Klingberg from the International Society for Human Rights says: "We have to free ourselves of the illusion that all the people coming here are human-rights activists. Among the ones who are already here, there is a non-trivial fraction which, in their religious intensity, are at least at the level of the Muslim Brotherhood. Volunteers have reported aggression rising the level of threats of beheading by Sunnis against Shiites, but the ones hit hardest are Christians and Yezidis. The chance of a Christian convert who doesn't hide his or her faith being attacked or subjected to organized harassment is almost 100 percent."

Two questions:

First, why is Germany allowing tens of thousands of violent religious fanatics into its territory?

Second, once these fanatics reveal themselves by illegal threats and violence, why aren't they immediately being deported?

If German politicians think only xenophobes want answers to these questions, they are mistaken. And they'd better come up with some convincing answers soon.

This is one reason why I think there's a 20% chance Merkel will lose her job before the end of 2015. Even her closest party colleagues and friends have made it clear the decision to open Germany's borders was hers and hers alone. She owns this crisis. She still has an enormous amount of good will buffering her, but she's burning through it faster than a spaceship re-entering earth atmosphere.

Snapshots from the Migrant Crisis

Here's a selection of my short summaries of the stories on the "Refugee Crisis" live-blog of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Germany's leading center-right broadsheet, with my comments:

13:19: Migrants end hunger strike in Nuremburg, migrants in Griebo near Wittenberg begin hunger strike, demanding to be housed in apartments instead of a multifunction hall

13:07: Psychology professor Jürgen Hoyer says it’s no surprise so much violence in refugee shelters, many people of different backgrounds packed together

This is why Germany will start seizing private commercial and residential property in a desperate rush to get migrants into apartments where the risk of violence is lower. 

12:41: Federal government estimates 30% of those claiming to be Syrian when they arrive in Germany are lying.

12:28: Middle East Director of UNHCR says 8,000 people coming to Europe each day, no sign of decrease, and that these are ‘tip of the iceberg.'

As I've mentioned before in comments, I see no reason why migrant stream will reduce during winter, because (1) 80% of the journey will be in countries with mild winters; (2) by the time they get to the cold places there will be volunteers and trains: (3) migrants know they have a rapidly-closing time window, it's now or never.

12:16 Poll of 213 Dutch local governments reveals 80% have no place for migrants, 25% anticipate resistance from local citizens esp. based on fear of competition for subsidized housing, only 17% say they have sufficient resources to integrate refugees.

12:11 On German national TV, Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said opening Germany’s borders (Merkel’s decision) led to situation going ‘out of control’

This is pretty amazing. Last night on a political talk-show watched by millions of Germans, the Interior Minister of Germany said the migrant situation was 'out of control'. The Interior Minister. And blamed it on a decision by Merkel, his close political ally & friend (though he didn't name her). You know what Germans don't like? Things that are out of control.

11:56: Knife-fight among 20 young men in shelter in Chemnitz, 2 young Tunisian men and 2 young Albanian men in hospital.

With thousands of new (presumably) genuine Syrian war refugees arriving every day, what are Tunisians and Albanians still doing here taking up precious shelter space and participating in gang knife-fights?

11:55: In an 1800-person shelted in Leipzig conference center there was a mass confrontation between 100-200 Syrians and Afghans, required ‘mass intervention’ of police to bring situation under control.

How long before the first murder in a migrant shelter? Weeks would be my guess. Rapes are already commonplace in some shelters, although nobody seems to care about that.

11:51: In Finland, gang dressed as KKK members pelt incoming migrant bus with stones and fireworks.

11:22 Sticks and metal rods converted to weapons found in Donaueschingen shelter after 400 refugees protested against planned relocation.

10:54: Majority of Germany continues to believe migrants can be accommodated, but majority shrank over last 2 weeks from 62 to 57 percent. Number who say it can’t be done rose from 35 to 40%.

I think we're going to see that trend continue.

Coming Soon to Germany: Hamza, the Murderous Algerian Drug Dealer

In the mainstream German press, the mere suggestion (g) that some of the people claiming to be Syrian are fakers is enough to start an anguished controversy.

The Washington Post (g) which seems to be taking on the role of migrant-crisis bullshit detector, is more curious than afraid. It sends an Arabic-speaking reporter to the Vienna Westbahnhof (I wonder whether that idea has occurred to any German journalists?) and spots dozens of fakes in just a few hours. They include Iraqis with suspicious bullet wounds, an Algerian who freely confesses to being a drug dealer and attempted murderer, and a group of Indians claiming to be bank employees in Damascus who, comically enough, are unable to speak Arabic:

There are well-dressed Iranians speaking Farsi who insist they are members of the persecuted Yazidis of Iraq. There are Indians who don’t speak Arabic but say they are from Damascus. There are Pakistanis, Albanians, Egyptians, Kosovars, Somalis and Tunisians from countries with plenty of poverty and violence, but no war.


Many of the asylum seekers tell journalists and aid workers they are from Syria, even if they are not, under the assumption that a Syrian shoemaker fleeing bombed-out Aleppo will be welcome, while a computer programmer from Kosovo will not be.

It is common knowledge on the migratory route that some who are not from Syria shred their real passports in Turkey and simply fake it.

A couple of reporters, one a native Arabic speaker, who wandered through train stations in Vienna found plenty of newcomers whose accents did not match their stories and whose stories did not make sense.

Swimming in the river of humanity are shady characters, too, admitted criminals, Islamic State sympathizers and a couple of guys from Fallujah, one with a fresh bullet wound, who when asked their occupation seemed confused.

“Army,” said one. His friend corrected him. “We’re all drivers,” he said.


At Vienna Westbahnhof railway station, a tight clutch of men lined up at the ticket windows. Days of rough travel lay behind them. All had one aim: Germany.

When asked by a reporter where they were from, the men answered, “We are from Syria.”

When a reporter switched to the North African dialect, the men laughed nervously. “We are Algerians,” they admitted.

Hamza, 27, is from Algiers. “I am illegal, not refugee,” he said. “In my country, the only thing you can do there is either drugs or crimes. So I was in prison several times, for drugs, also for trying to kill another guy.”


“It’s really easy now to travel with these refugees. We received food and shelter, and a nice welcoming from people so far.”

He said he has met Tunisians, Moroccans and Libyans playing the same game.

“So when someone asks us, where do you live? We say Damascus. Where are you from? Answer Syria.”


Another group of men, standing in line for free food, spoke English among themselves but with an Indian accent.

One said his name was “Hassan.”

“We grew up in Syria; our fathers worked there for many years,” Hassan said.

He had worked in Syria, in a bank, in Damascus, he said.

When a reporter spoke to them in Arabic, the men smiled and said, “No Arabic, only English.” Asked where they lived in Damascus, they couldn’t really say.

They excused themselves and wandered away.


Most economic migrants and war refugees in Vienna say they have arrived without showing a single document to authorities. Nor are they photographed, fingerprinted or subjected to biometric measurements.

There are two poles to the world's reaction to the migrant crisis: Admiration for the welcoming attitude of Germans, and amazement at their naivete and short-sightedness. Sometimes both at the same time.

Swedish Immigration Policy is a Disaster, not a Model

When German journalists try to persuade their readers that Germans should take even more migrants than it currently does, they usually point to Sweden. Sweden has accepted 57 migrants per 10,000 residents in the current crisis as opposed to Germany's 15.

What these journalists rarely mention is that Sweden's immigration policy is a total failure. 14% of the Swedish population have migrant roots.* Gunnar Heinsohn, in Die Weltquotes (g, my translation) brutally revealing statistics compiled by Swedish economist Tino Sanandaji (himself an Iranian Kurdish migrant) on how they are doing:

48 percent of working-age immigrants are unemployed. Even after 15 years in Sweden, only 60 percent have a job. Sweden has the largest gap between labor-market participation between immigrants and natives in Europe.

42 percent of the long-term unemployed are immigrants. 58 percent of all Swedish social-welfare payments go to immigrants. 45 percent of the children with the worst school performance are immigrants. Immigrants earn, on average, 40 percent less than natives. Since the 1980s, Sweden has had the greatest increase in inequality of all OECD nations.

As I've noted before, Sweden's immigrants moved away from the boring rural towns they were placed in and concentrated in urban ghettos which have become riot-prone no-go zones where police only go in force. Just a few months ago rival immigrant gangs carried out four hand-grenade attacks in a week in Malmö.

Imagine that: hand grenades exploding in Swedish cities.

The anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats party "have surged in the polls from 5.7 per cent in 2010 to 12.9 per cent at last year’s elections and a poll by Sentio Research this month [September 2015] put the party at 26.5 per cent." They are now the most popular political party in Sweden, although, incredibly, mainstream Swedish parties are still trying to exclude them:

Nicholas Aylott of Sodertorn University says consensus among the other parties on immigration has left the field open for the Sweden Democrats. “The degree to which the other parties loathe the Sweden Democrats is amazing. But the debate is now taking place on the fringes,” he says.

Paula Bieler, a Sweden Democrat MP and the party’s spokesperson for integration, revels in the antagonism. “This is dividing the country. People are now seeing that what we have said for a long time isn’t that weird,” she says.

The party went into the last elections promising to cut immigration by 90 per cent, saying that there was a choice between accepting more immigrants and maintaining high welfare standards. 

Continue reading "Swedish Immigration Policy is a Disaster, not a Model" »

Why does Sweden Have One of the Highest Sexual Assault Rates in the World?

Every year when comparative crime statistics are updated, there's a head-scratcher: why does the nation of Sweden have one of the the highest rates of sexual assault in the world? The Wikipedia article "Rape in Sweden" consists of little other than a long series of convoluted explanations for this puzzling state of affairs, including expansive legal definitions of sexual assault, awareness campaigns to encourage reporting, and other factors. The problem, of course, is that all Nordic countries have similar cultural and legal environments, but Sweden's rate of sexual assault is 6 or 7 times higher than all neighboring countries. According to a Gatestone Institute report by Swedes Ingrid Carlqvist and Lars Hedegaard:

[I]n 2008, Sweden's neighbor Denmark only had 7.3 rapes per 100,000 inhabitants compared to 53.2 in Sweden?

Danish legislation is not very different from Sweden's, and there is no obvious reason why Danish women should be less inclined to report rape than their Swedish counterparts.

In 2011, 6,509 rapes were reported to the Swedish police -- but only 392 in Denmark. The population of Denmark is about half the size of Sweden's, so even adjusted for size, the discrepancy is significant.

The report cites a statistic from the Swedish National Council on Crime Prevention that 58% of these sexual assaults were by strangers, which is a lot. The report goes on to suggest a different explanation for Sweden's dubious distinction: immigration. This is total immigration and emigration from Sweden for the past 150 years:


After observing that Sweden, like many other European countries, does not keep records on the ethnicity of criminals (how can you be accused of discrimination when you don't keep the numbers that would reveal it?), the Gatestone Report notes that there have been a few -- very few -- academic studies on the prevalence of sexual assaults by immigrant Swedes. The ones that were performed came to rather startling conclusions:

Since 2000, there has only been one research report on immigrant crime. It was done in 2006 by Ann-Christine Hjelm from Karlstads University.

It emerged that in 2002, 85% of those sentenced to at least two years in prison for rape in Svea Hovrätt, a court of appeals, were foreign born or second-generation immigrants.

A 1996 report by the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention reached the conclusion that immigrants from North Africa (Algeria, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia) were 23 times as likely to commit rape as Swedish men. The figures for men from Iraq, Bulgaria and Romania were, respectively, 20, 18 and 18. Men from the rest of Africa were 16 times more prone to commit rape; and men from Iran, Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia, 10 times as prone as Swedish men.

Now, I don't read Swedish, and can't thus vouch for the accuracy of these statistics. But the previous article from the conservative Gatestone Institute largely checked out, so I am willing to bet they are right.

In any case, I cannot find any detailed refutation of this report, which is packed with statistics, citations and references to original-language sources. It seems to have been met, as is usual with these sorts of reports, with uncomfortable silence. The report cites a telling story of Swedish journalists misleading their readers about who exactly committed a highly-publicized gang-rape:

This month, all major Swedish media reported on a brutal gang rape on board the Finnish Ferry Amorella, running between Stockholm and Åbo in Finland. Big headlines told the readers that the perpetrators were Swedish:

  • "Several Swedish Men Suspected of Rape on the Finland Ferry" (Dagens Nyheter).
  • "Six Swedish Men Raped Woman in Cabin" (Aftonbladet).
  • "Six Swedes Arrested for Rape on Ferry" (Expressen).
  • "Eight Swedes Suspected of Rape on Ferry" (TT – the Swedish News Agency).

On closer inspection, it turned out that seven of the eight suspects were Somalis and one was Iraqi. None of them had Swedish citizenship, so they were not even Swedish in that sense. According to witnesses, the group of men had been scouring the ferry looking for sex. The police released four of them (but they are still suspects) whereas four (all Somalis) remain in custody.

In any event, if it is the case that immigrant males from Arab nations are "23 times as likely" to commit rape as Swedish males once they reach Sweden, wouldn't that perhaps be of relevance, considering that Sweden is currently slated to import tens of thousands more young males from Arab countries? What can Sweden do to reduce the risk of this group of immigrants behaving in a similar fashion? Should immigrants receive special instruction on Swedish laws about sexual assault? I consider these to be important public-safety questions that deserve discussion, not paranoid right-wing fantasies.

And now let's look at it from a left-wing angle. Unless your trust in the Swedish justice system is absolute, you might be tempted to raise another question: is the fact that 85% of all men in prison for serious sexual assault in Sweden are foreigners a true representation of social reality? Or is it possible that they are being singled out or discriminated against? Perhaps Swedish judges are less likely to believe foreigners' explanations for disputed sexual encounters. Perhaps the language barrier or lack of resources plays a role. Perhaps immigrant suspects are getting longer sentences than ethnic Swedes for similar crimes ?

European journalists immediately assume that the over-representation of black Americans in prison signals racism in the justice system. Could something similar be going on in Sweden? Why aren't crusading journalists like Mikeal Blomkvist trying to find this out? Is it because they trust the Swedish justice system to always reach the right conclusions, no matter what? Is it because they are afraid of finding out that the conviction rates actually do reflect reality?

An another question: conservative (but not just conservative) Europeans denounce the mainstream press for actively downplaying immigrant crime, giving citizens an inaccurate picture of what is actually happening in their societies. And looking into the matter, it is clear that European journalists actually do this. It's not just a crazy accusation by right-wing tub-thumpers. If you refer to rape suspects who don't even have Swedish citizenship as "Swedish men", you are lying to your readers. Since this actually happens, the conversation should move on: why does it happen? Perhaps journalists have an explanation for deceiving their readers on this point. Perhaps this explanation might be convincing. But they never even give one. They simply deceive their readers, and then when caught, perhaps make a few hasty edits.

Can anyone point me to an example of a European journalist giving an open, honest, forthright, thoughtful explanation of why many press organs downplay immigrant crime?

Fragen über Fragen, as the German saying goes: Question upon question...

Merkel Should Apologize and Ask for Help

Germany, which will receive around 130,000 migrants this month alone, is overwhelmed. Signs of crisis and breakdown are everywhere, and there are still hundreds of thousands of migrants in the pipeline. Desperate German (and some European) politicians continue to try to get other European countries to accept more of the million migrants Germany lured to the continent. 

So far they've tried two methods.

The first method is appeals to European "solidarity" and European "values". This doesn't work, because those are lofty abstractions, and nobody agrees on their meaning.

The second method is by threatening to withhold EU funds to countries that don't take "enough" migrants. This doesn't work, because it looks like Germany bullying other countries to clean up its mess. It enrages countries which are much poorer than Germany, threatening to gravely damage the EU itself.

There is a third option, although one that, in my experience, German civil servants never consider: Apologize. A short speech for Merkel:

Europe (or the rest of the world), Germany has been a main driver of this crisis. We failed to anticipate a flow of refugees that anyone could have seen was coming. We didn't prepare. We made a decision to ignore Schengen that sent the wrong signal, luring hundreds of thousands more people. We take full responsibility for this problem. But right now, we are faced with a number of refugees which we simply cannot handle. So in the spirit of humility, we apologize for our previous actions and ask for help.

The migrants are not to blame, at least not the migrants who are actually fleeing war and persecution. They should not suffer unduly for our mistake. We ask you to take significantly more refugees. In return, we will agree to tax our citizens to provide a lavish financial aid package that will reduce the financial burden to a minimum. We will also agree to immediately implement and help pay for strict border controls on the EU outer border, to ensure that we do not get further streams of refugees when we can't cope with the ones we already have.

Other nations of Europe (or the rest of the world), please accept our apology and help us out. We'll remember it the next time you need a favor. That is solidarity.

Maybe it will work, maybe not. But it would be a big improvement on threats and abstractions. 

Presidential Candidate Says Muslims Shouldn't Be President

I haven't blogged about the American Presidential race because I don't live there anymore and don't really care who runs it, as long as it's not a very silly person like George W. Bush. For the record, I support Bernie Sanders, have donated to his campaign, and would vote for him if I still bothered to vote in American elections, which I haven't done recently. The last place I was registered to vote was Texas, so I can only vote there. I don't care who runs Texas, and my Texas vote never has the slightest role to play in national elections. because of the silly Electoral College.

But this is really something else. Ben Carson is a retired neurosurgeon. By all accounts a gifted one, he was the first to separate twins conjoined at the head. He is also a Seventh-Day-Adventist (that's one of those shiny new American religions, by the way) and is running for the Republican Presidential nomination. Here's a short excerpt of a recent interview: 

Carson thinks a Muslim shouldn't be President because Islam is inconsistent with the Constitution of the US. US Constitution, Art. VI: "[N]o religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."

Now, Ben Carson will never become President of the USA, not even in the darkest alternate timeline where the zombies join up with the aliens. But still, the fact that millions of Americans think he should be is rather sobering.

How to Handle Migrants on the Housing Market



In Germany, if your initial paperwork is approved and you are granted refugee status (and in certain other circumstances), you are eligible to move into an apartment that you find and rent yourself. The state gives you a voucher for the rental costs, but it's small. This means, in the coming months, hundreds of thousands of migrants will flood into the market for low-income housing in Germany. There is already a shortage of affordable housing so severe that many German cities have imposed rent controls.

And no, even if the refugees are placed in rural East Germany, they will not stay there. They will all flood into major population centers where they already have relatives and there is an existing Arabic-speaking community. The federal government can't stop this flight into the cities. The German state will never be willing to take the coercive measures necessary to actually force 400 Syrians located in a small East German town where there are no jobs and the locals distrust them. 

So all those migrants are going to flock to Berlin, Dortmund, Cologne, Bremen, Hamburg, etc. In many of these cities, there are already serious shortages of affordable housing. And now come foreign newcomers without jobs who don't speak any German to compete with German citizens for an affordable, decent place to live. And the foreigners, unlike the Germans, are clutching a piece of paper from the government that gives them free rent.

I can see the interviews now: Cindy, A German (or if you prefer Cansu, a long-settled Turkish-German) discount-store cashier, holding her 2 children, says: "I know it was good to take the refugees in and I don't blame them, but what about us German citizens who are already here and are working hard and paying our taxes? Where are our free rent checks? Where are our decent, affordable apartments?"

Of course, Green-party voting journalists will mock Cindy for implicitly comparing her hardship with those fleeing war. (They'll remain uncomfortably silent about Cansu.). Other journalists will produce long, statistics-laden pieces about why the affordable housing crisis really isn't quite as dramatic as you might think. The Bild tabloid will actually print the interview with both Cindy and Cansu, and will be attacked for the 455,003th time for "irresponsibly" inciting xenophobia.

And many working- and lower-middle class Germans will take a fresh look at anti-immigrant political parties.

To ignore this obvious crisis barreling down the road toward us would require a level of foolishness and shortsightedness that nobody expected to see from Germany. Until this summer.

So the Andrew Hammel Tough-But-Fair Think-Tank puts forward this White Paper:

  1. Social and political scientists accept that government benefits which are seen as only going to the poor or foreigners quickly become unpopular and get cancelled. This is a universal constant of human nature that cannot be changed, and any policy which ignores it is doomed. 
  2. Germany's going to need for the migrants alone 500,000 new affordable apartments not in rural East Germany, but in the cities where all the migrants will quickly move to.
  3. Therefore, the German Interior Ministry should announce the 50/50 plan: an ambitious new subsidized housing plan that will build or refurbish one new decent, rent-controlled apartment for low-income Germans for every new apartment built for migrants.
  4. The German Interior Ministry should announce this program right now, not after months of negative press coverage and mounting rage. Also, the federal government will announce that it will provide all the money, so there's no squabbles about which level of government will have to pay.
  5. This ambitious new housing program will be paid for by canceling existing tax cuts and raising the top marginal income tax on the rich by 3%. Also, a 30% inheritance tax on estates over €1 million. In Germany, about €250 billion (g) is passed generation to generation every year in Germany. Little Carlo-Alexander can give up €800 of his monthly €4000 trust-fund allowance to help desperate refugees, can't he?

At this point, my plan looks like a crazy dream. But I wouldn't be surprised to see something like it in, say, mid-2016.