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I thought Germans prized thrift

Gerhard Schroder is attempting a much-needed overhaul of Germany's welfare system. But on this proposal he goes astray: a cut in welfare benefits to children of unemployed parents who have 750 Euros in a savings account.

To the extent the policy would have teeth, it diminishes the incentive of people in at-risk jobs to save. Not good. But more likely, it will just limit the form of saving, and poor Germans will revert to sticking cash under mattresses. Nice one, Gerhard!