• Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Community Reputation

575 Awesome

About alderhill

Profile Information

  • Location Niedersachsen
  • Nationality Canadian
  • Gender Male
  • Year of birth

Recent Profile Visitors

3,473 profile views
  1. Cycle to work scheme

    Isn't 30c/km simply the standard commuting deductible? So your employer is paying you that in real cash on top of you being able to claim that in your tax return? (It may cancel out at the end of the day...)    I'd say either way you're getting a benefit. if your primary reason for doing it is extra cash, I don't think you will enjoy daily cycle-commuting all that much. Look at as a win-win: you save some carbon, your health generally improves, and besides all that, you get a bit of a financial break.      Well...    
  2. Digitisation and the death of the service culture

      Agreed... Besides the very real motivation aspect, I'm skeptical as I think it puts too much of the burden on 'government' for the solution... With universal basic income, companies/employers have even less incentive to improve wages or working conditions, because it's simply not on them anymore. It'll be a libertarian wet dream, except the kind where you're actually on a bad acid trip. Companies earn their revenue and pay wages and taxes, but larger big earners all use 'legal' loopholes to avoid taxes, much less spending in the economy ("trickle don't" economics), building up their private treasure chests, etc. They'll pay extra for talent? OK, but when asked to subsidize literally everyone else too? Meanwhile the government/state is still left holding a bill, but out of what pocket do they pay that from? Under UBI, you'd surely set a (low-ish) threshold of the UBI payout, past which income/assets are taxable for citizens and companies. But the impulse to stay under it would be, for the majority, strong. Long-term, I think this will only transfer wealth out of public circulation and into private. It would, in short, make states/governments beholden to corporations (more than currently). Such as legal regimes are now, anyway. Of course, this is a "worse case" vision. On paper UBI solves a few problems, but then it produces 101 more, and I just don't see how it will work in reality.    In the global finance world we live in, tax sheltering and 'grey-area' tax evasion is way too easy. To avoid the above sort of scenario, IMO that would all have to be completely and thoroughly closed down -- everywhere on Earth, and good luck with that -- for UBI to function. Businesses and employers would have to be fully and faithfully tied to one taxing authority only. Sorry, flyover states. And further... if UBI is government controlled, what happens if you somehow run afoul of the state? In a cashless, totally digitalized society? Criminals deserve their misfortune you say, but just pick your favourite authoritarian example of benign behaviour now suddenly illegal. Poof, you're persona non grata, homo sacer. Plenty of dystopian sci-fi has visited this idea in various ways, but I think it's not all that outlandish. China already has a "social credit" system, digital fingerprints and facial scanning is ramping up - including in Western countries. So just imagine if one single payroll were built into that. It's a terrifying idea.   I have read that simplifying/unifying benefits schemes into a measured all-in-one is mostly beneficial, though.
  3. Digitisation and the death of the service culture

      The more I think about it, the more I read about it, the more I believe UBI schemes are a bad idea. I know they sound sweet, at first I certainly thought so, but I don't think it would take a lot for them to spin into nightmare scenarios. 
  4. Digitisation and the death of the service culture

      I only buy Amazon reluctantly, only when I can't find it from a local shop easily or a German/European online store, or the price really is drastically lower (but I find that's rarely the case). Usually it's only a small savings margin at Amazon. For only a couple euros difference, I am happy to support smaller places. I loathe what Amazon have done to book stores, especially back home. Back in the early 2000s, the mega-bookstore chain* blew out almost all the small local independent (*Yes singular. In Canada, monopolies/duopolies are even worse than other anglo countries -- what started as two mega-bookstores quickly merged into one and f•cked everyone else out of the market but specialists or in downtown areas where mega-boxstore space was not available). And now, even they are closing stores. My nearest shopping centre in the neighbourhood where I grew up — less than 1km — had a small 4-5 local chain bookstore, replaced by a mega-bookstore (which was nicely stocked, cafe inside, etc., but yea, a big faceless corporation), and now my parents tell me it closed last year. Now the nearest place to look at books is 5km away. For them, it's only easily reachable by car and requires a special trip out there, as it’s not somewhere they just pass by.    I know Amazon can afford to undercut due to legal tax evasion, massive bulk quantities, their dubious labour policies ("contractors", lol), etc. As soon as they have the market cornered, they will jack up prices. Lately, looking for certain small electronic or mechanical repair parts, I've noticed Amazon is flooded with low-quality junk sold direct from Shenzhen or wherever, sent via China Post (which is heavily subsidized by the state to help Chinese exporters. That's why it only costs 89 cents to ship a couple kilos halfway round the world). Look for plug adaptors for example, you'll find 7 different generic Chinglish names stamped on the exact same cheap plastic clone product at prices far above Chinese market, though of course just enough to compete with shops here.
  5. Gymnasium vs Gemeinschaftsschule

      This is of course important too, children deserve some credit for knowing what they want. But I still think they need to be pushed/steered a little.
  6.   I think it's generally good advice to avoid mixing business and pleasure, but there can be exceptions. I even know a few married-with-kids couples who even started out as teacher-student relationships. 
  7. Although it might be besides the point, why do you not want to stay at the 'new' place? Are you especially fond of Marriot's Mormonism or of giving more money to the Marriot billionaire family instead of a private equity fund (effective owners of Generator Hostels)? Is it likely to make a huge difference, really?   If there were a pile of rubble and wrecking machinery sitting in the Marriot's place, I'd understand, but well... the hotel does exist, it's just changed names/ownership. That's not the same as saying it doesn't exist. Annoying yes, but I'd more worried about getting assurance that my booking was still valid at the new place than fighting a technicality.   Yea I do empathize, but it seems like lawyering up is both the expensive and likely fruitless path. With a baby in tow, fixed timeframe, and few affordable options as you say, is it not better to just take this one on the chin? You have to pick your battles, right?
  8. Coronavirus

      Probably? They 100% are, though it's less the doctors than the CPC authorities cooking the books. You may have read that one of the first whistleblowing doctors recently died of Corona virus, though at first police/commissars forced him to sign 'I've been a baaaad boy' documents that he disturbed social order.   Simply remember that the CPC are bad-faith actors and do not trust anything they say. I don't want to sound too tinfoil, but lying to foreign press and governments and playing them like fiddles (just google for examples of "Chinese Crybully") are standard marching orders.    I don't think we need to panic, as you say. Standard precautions, etc. Western medical set-up, and certainly in Germany, is much better than in China, not to mention routine sanitation in general. Probably simple soap and handwashing routines could've prevented this outbreak, but those are not common in China.       
  9. Coronavirus

        I wouldn't worry about that too much.   The coronavirus is almost certainly a result of Chinese 'wet markets' (named for the state of their floors, from blood, guts, water, gunk, etc.) which sell anything from raised livestock to wild animals. Refrigeration is still not common for most Chinese outside the upper classes in First Tier cities, much less their markets. Most get their meat from an old lady fanning a tassel over chunks of meat on a table in the open air for hours on end while prospective customers come along and finger and man-handle each chunk, etc. Wild animals await their turn to be cooked alive in little cages next to other wild animals. Soap and hand-washing are not common. The source of this coronavirus is almost certainly wild bats on sale at such markets. Bats are known reservoirs of virus's due to their pretty cool immune system. E.g.:  
  10. Coffee or Tea?

    Coffee, generally only in the mornings. Moka pot, dash of milk, never sugar. I only buy region-specific beans. I like Mexican or Central Americans beans best for every day use, Congolese or Kenyan/central African beans sometimes. Ethiopian beans for a splurge. I used to live close to a great Ethiopian cafe run by actual Ethiopians using only Ethiopian beans. You not only ordered your drink/style, but which of a dozen different beans you wanted it made with. They roasted/ground on-site, and it was no more expensive than other cafés either.   I drink tea at work, usually green, but sometimes herbal "teas" or black from time to time.      Two cups of tea. (Kidding.)    Eat a banana. They're shown to keep the same energy levels up for longer time (slow release)  than caffeinated energy drinks. They're also good for your blood/heart health and help your metabolism in general (via inulin), so you can avoid dramatic spikes and crashes. You shouldn't "need" a chemical jolt to keep you going. 
  11. Question about driving licenses

      I was more referring to sending it back, not familiar with British office terms. Perhaps it's a European/EU thing (oh, woops). Wonder how the dawn of Britain's great new era will change this though. AFAIK, none of the jurisdictions I've lived in sends Canadian licenses back. In Canada/US anyway, driving tends to be a provincial/state responsibility so they probably can't be bothered to comply with 60 different sets of laws.   As I mentioned, I've been told many times that you also have the right to ask for your non-German license back upon request. Which would be hard to do if it's been shipped out and shredded... Again, perhaps an EU thing.
  12. Question about driving licenses

      It's not cancelled, as they have no authority like that over foreign licenses. They just put it in storage. In theory, you can ask for it back if you return the German license.
  13. Suggestions needed for Road Trip in Spain/Portugal

    To each his own I guess, but I’ll never understand the point of such whirlwind tours. This is doable, physically, but madness.   Whatever it is you plan to do won’t be much of anything... except driving and parking and checking in/out of hotels. You’ll only get the most superficial feel of the tourist traps before heading out again.     Honestly, would it matter?
  14.   And still get Elterngeld? I’d be a little surprised if it were as high, though. Keep in mind, the Elterngeldstelle usually has the last say (or laugh!). Either way, Any “over-calculated” payouts will be taken back on tax returns.   That’s how it was explained to us, basically. Our tax return only came back to us a couple weeks ago (that’s right, Jan 2020) despite filing last March. (Our case worker sucked.) You need the resulting Bescheid as part of your application. Anyway, Elterngeldstelle said they would instead calculate based on our pay stubs and round up to be safe. They wouldn’t adjust the amount we got, but any excess would be taken off our tax return for 2019.
  15.   Elterngeld is intended to partially replace (at roughly 2/3s) your average income, so that taking time off to care for your baby isn’t not a financial loss or worry. (There’s also a cap of course so rich people don’t benefit more than poor). Elterngeld Plus lets you work part time, and can be used up to 24 months (split between both parents). It will be clawed back so that the more you work (while still part time) the less you will get. In no case will Elterngeld get 100% of what you would working full time, just so it’s clear.