It is always fascinating what creatures of habit we are and to what extent that shapes politics. I just spoke to someone who received a job offer in Austria. 14 monthly salaries. Why? He asks. On balance it is the annual salary, but why is it so strangely divided in Austria? Because after the war, it was an interest-free credit from the employees to the companies. For five months we will waive a sixth of the salary and in the sixth we then get double. And the state rewards us for it, because we are so nice, with lower taxes on the saved five sixths.

The war was a long time ago, he says. Why do people still agree to this, he asks. You have to see it differently, I say. We have got used to managing with the five sixths and then twice a year we can afford something. Then we are always delighted. You could save yourselves, he says. Well. Minimum wage earners surely cannot manage on the five sixths, he says. Well. You do not want to change it? he asks. No, I say. We would not feel we were getting more fairness but that the 13th and 14th were being taken away from us. At least that would be the media discourse. Fascinating…, he says.


Posted by Michel Reimon