Auf dem reichen Auge blind

Blind in the rich eye,” a punning headline for a Zeit article about Bayern Munich soccer club president Uli Hoeneß that reminded readers Bavaria is the state with the least number of tax auditors per capita and the least number of audits per auditor (29 audits per 100,000 taxpayers in 2011). Taxes are still collected state-by-state in Germany, not by a central federal office like the USA’s IRS.

“Steep theses,” “sometimes tending toward polemics” this review said but also that the 2013 book Die Selbstbediener: Wie Bayerische Politiker sich den Staat zur Beute machen (“Serving themselves: How Bavarian politicians make the state their booty”) by Speyer professor Hans Herbert von Arnim started the recent discussion about the Bavarian CSU party (which has monopolized their state gubmint for fifty years and is also the only state party to join national-level ruling coalitions, such as Angela Merkel’s current government CDU/CSU + FDP). People are still shocked by the 500 million euros recently discovered in Uli Hoeneß’s Swiss bank accounts and by the number of Bavarian MP’s (17, no 30, no 79) subsequently discovered to have taken advantage of loopholes in a 2000 nepotism law to hire their relatives at government expense. Von Arnim says the nepotism is just the tip of the iceberg for upcoming Bavarian parliamentary scandals.

Other emerging facts that shocked this week included: that the Bavarian state parliament members (CSU monopoly) complained loudest about southern European countries takin’ all our money yet paid themselves the highest income of all the German state MP’s, at 10,200 euros/month before taxes. Von Arnim says this is possible because of a lack of transparency in Bavarian state budgeting which other German states have deliberately prevented by passing separate rules governing important financial issues such as legislator compensation. He criticizes insufficient transparency and controlling in Bavaria’s very large budget, which is the size of several other German states’ combined.

How can corruption like this happen? Recent angry op-eds said the newly discovered nepotistic politicians aren’t exactly Raffke (Berlin slang from ~1920 for a greedy grabber) but that after a party is in power for a long time its members’ mentality can shift. Politicians in the party no longer orient their moral sense on what’s right and wrong, but instead on what the other politicians are doing and, eventually, toward what’s possible. Politicians in other parties of the monopolized government begin to think the same way as well. So far the only party in the Bavarian parliament not discovered to have employed family members after 2000 is the FDP, which wasn’t in the state parliament because it lacked the votes.

(Ow! f   dame   REICH en   ow! ga    blinned.)



“Client politics.” Politicians who pursue the interests of certain of their “clients,” to the detriment of the general good. This has been translated as pork barrel politics, but I think that’s inaccurate because pork barrel politics indicates a federal politician is harming the general good of the country to benefit the general good of his state, whereas client politics is more specific than that.

(Klee en TELL pole ee teek.)


“Cousins economy.” Nepotism.

(FETT er n virt shoft.)


Cheeky monkey, little rascal, smooth operator, son of a gun.

(Shla VEE ner.)


Caitiff, rapscallion, scoundrel.

(SHOO fft.)


Imp, prankster.

(SHELL m.)


Joker character who sits on your shoulder and whispers terrible suggestions into your ear.

(SHAWL k.)


Someone who “stacks things up high.” A con man, a fraud.

(HOKE shtop ler.)

Vitamin B, Vitamin Beziehung

“Vitamin R, Vitamin Relationships.” Juice. Who you know.

(VEE ta min BAY, VEE ta min buh TSEE oong.)


“Wires relationships.” Old-boy network, insiders network.

(Z eye l shoft en.)


“Favorites economy.” Favoritism.

(GOON st lings VIRT shoft.)


Nepotism. Cliques economy.

(Ge KOONG ull.)


The “heroes of the Greek islands” who have been taking care of the special needs of blonde female tourists since the 1960’s.

(Komma kee yah.)


“Financial polka”; a song by the band Icke & Er about living from paycheck to paycheck.

(Fee NONTS polllka.)


Coxcomb, dandy, fop, swell, popinjay, rake, philanderer, man-about-town.

(Sh tents.)


Entertaining, loud, cheeky man. Irresponsible, charming, interested in wine, women and song. Not serious. Adventurer. Rogue. Party boy.

(Hall OH dree.)

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