While German bureaucracy may be somewhat Kafka-esque at time and German tax laws are so byzantine that they spawned a huge well-paid profession of blood-suckers who help people dodge taxes, there used to be always one aspect of this bureaucracy which I found reassuring: It’s very solid; The bureaucrats working in it are more concerned about ‘the rules’ than doing anything reasonable. They won’t hesitate to make an effort to ensure everything is correct to the cent. This impression of a ‘solid’ and reliable bureaucracy has been optically reinforced by the decade-long use of Helvetica, the bureaucrats’ typeface, in their forms.
Not anymore. Receiving my new Lohnsteuerkarte - a strange piece of thick-ish paper that comes in a different colour every year which you have to hand in to your employer for reasons beyond my comprehension, particularly now after the tax bureaucracy came up with a UUID for each person which is attached to newborns as soon as they start breathing - I had to see this:
A-fucking-rial! Surely they can’t expect me to take anything they do seriously now. Shouldn’t they at least pretend on a graphical level that they are competent, rather than suggesting we’re sponsoring a club of morons?
A favorite old American saying:
“Your tax dollars at work!”
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