August 26, 2022
In the footsteps of Father Lataste
September 5, 2022
Money worries because of coffee-to-go?

This morning on the radio, a student was asked about her money worries. Everything is getting more expensive, and the state is only partially compensating. Some population groups are known to be affected more than others. This young woman lives with her mother (low earner) and gets BaFöG.

She told me that it was complicated to apply for the money and that even approved money often didn't flow until much later. In both cases I can understand the anger. Well, a student should be able to fight the bureaucracy, but if support is promised and then she gets nothing for months, then of course this can really cause hardship and money worries.

I can't say anything about the sums. My studies were 30 years ago, DM times, you can't compare that. I know that it was always difficult to get a cheap room and that books were always expensive if you had to buy something yourself and couldn't borrow it. The young woman calculated what she got in BaFöG and what she had to pay from it: rent, utilities, health insurance, tuition fees, books. What she had left "to live on" sounded tight. However, there is always the question of what belongs to this life.

How do the needs show up concretely?

That's why the moderator asked the student how she was actually noticing the worsening situation. She said she now thinks twice about buying a coffee on her way to university in the morning, and today she only got a small croissant at the bakery.

She tells this on the radio, so she doesn't seem to be aware of how it must affect people with real money worries. This woman is subsidized by the state (i.e., the taxpayer), but she thinks it's perfectly normal to drink coffee away from home and shop at the bakery on a regular basis, apparently. Sorry: I have to be careful not to become too cynical!

She needs the coffee to wake up. Yeah, okay. If the mother is a low-income earner - did she never teach her child that you can also make coffee at home and take it with you in a thermos? That may not be hip, but it's cheaper and also better for the environment. My generation, by the way, knew that long before Greta Thunberg even had a clue what climate, coffee or "to go" meant.

A croissant from the baker? That was a luxury for me even before I joined the Order. We usually ate bread from the supermarket. Everything else only as an exception, when we wanted to treat ourselves. Of course, we sometimes treated ourselves, but as students we couldn't do that very often. Not because of the national crisis, but because we were students. It's just normal when you don't earn any money yet! If she had said, "Bread has become so expensive!" That's true, unfortunately. (And that is really a problem about which a reportage would have been worthwhile!) But this way it sounds a bit like Marie Antoinette: "Let them eat cake."

The moderator accepted all this unchallenged, although she is otherwise quite good at putting her interlocutors through the wringer. So she, too, seems to sense a national disaster if our students can no longer visit their personal barrista on a daily basis. Please forgive me if I do not join in this concern.

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