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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Socialistes! Socialisme!

Socialism might be pretty from a distance - everyone is provided for, no one starves in old age, and all that.  But, up close, we're starting to notice some warts.  What's this I hear about the government deciding how much I can afford to pay for my apartment!?  During our apartment search, everyone told us there's a rule that you can only pay one third of your income for your apartment, even if you're willing to pay more.  Paternalism?  Mommy state?  You bet.  Luckily, we make enough that this didn't really impinge on our lifestyle.

But now they've gone too far.  We've got over $20,000 Euros in our joint bank account to cover the exorbitant 6 months rent deposit, the actual rent, all the appliances we have to buy, etc.  When I tried to place an order online for about 4000 Euros of stuff, the bank refused it.  When I called the bank, they said they limit my expenditures to only 1500 Euros per month.  Say what?  Now, if you call and ask, they may grant you a temporary increase.  We asked to increase it to $4000/month for two months, and they said we're only allowed to put the increase in place one month at a time.  We'll have to call back in a month if we want the privilege of spending our own money.  I'm bridling here!

Now I have to admit they do have one reason for this rule that doesn't really apply in the US.  In France, the credit cards are directly connected into your bank account, so there's a risk of loss to fraud.  We're not quite clear on who is responsible for the losses.  We think there's a sort of deductible, then it's on them.  But maybe not.  And if we ask for an increased limit, does that increase our liability?  Probably!


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