In a perverse way (pun intended), I admire German politicians for their creativity. They will figure out ways to tax just about anything.
Their latest scheme is a plan that requires streetwalkers to put money in parking meters in exchange for a slip of paper that entitles them to…um…ply their trade for a specified period of time.
Here are some excerpts from the Daily Mail report.
Prostitutes working the streets of the former German capital are now having to pay £5.30 per night to a modified parking meter – to gain permission to ply their trade. Sex workers in Bonn face hefty fines for not forking out the new ‘income tax’ which has been brought in to try and regulate the outdoor aspect of the industry. It is to bring them into line with the country’s brothel workers who already pay out a percentage of their profits in tax, which varies depending on the region. …if caught without a valid ticket, offenders would be reprimanded. They would then face fines, and later a ban. The fee is a daily charge, and irrespective of how many punters are entertained. …specific quarters have been designated as sex work zones. City officials have created ‘consummation areas’, which are wooden parking garages where customers driving cars can retreat to with their prostitutes. Dortmund has a similar system where prostitutes buy tickets from petrol stations.
I suppose this is the point where I normally would make some snide comments about greedy politicians, or perhaps offer some analysis about the economic impact of taxation.
But this story is so bizarre that I can’t even get to that stage.
What happens if you’re just a regular motorist and you put money in the meter and press the wrong button?
And I know that most governments will put a boot on one of your tires to disable your car if you don’t pay your parking tickets. Does this mean hookers who don’t buy a street-walking pass will get a chastity belt?
Does the city government also charge for use of the garages in the “consummation areas”? And when did it become the responsibility of German taxpayers to finance something like that?!?
And for the hookers in Dortmund who get their passes at the petrol station, do the mechanics check “under the hood” if they use full service? (okay, pretty lame, but I couldn’t resist)
Most important, will the politicians take this idea to its logical conclusion and put prostitute meters in Parliament? In other words, require politicians to put money in a meter before they try to buy support from interest groups by providing handouts and special preferences.
That’s one tax increase even I could support.