During the Vietnam War protests, tax delinquents could not be sent to jail. It's not so comfortable in Germany.
[Sieglinde Baumert] was marched off to a police station and then to jail in Chemnitz, Saxony – and a notice that she was being let go from her job followed soon after.In Germany, people used to be taxed on the basis of how many receivers they owned, the same way the British radio tax works. But now, each taxpayer is presumed to own a receiver and thus subject to taxation.
But the broadcaster fee refusenik, who stopped paying in 2013, believes that her cause is just.
She and other opponents of the fees argue that public TV channels ARD and ZDF and radio broadcaster Deutschlandradio are massively overfinanced and have overstepped the bounds of the “basic service” the law calls on them to provide.
“For example, I can't understand football at all,” Baumert said. “When I then read: one minute of the 'Sportschau' [sports news show] costs €40,000, then I ask myself why I should invest a single cent towards that.”
The fee has long been a source for contention, especially when authorities changed the policy in 2013 to imposing a blanket charge on all households, regardless of whether they have a television or radio.The root cause of the problem is the government operating radio and television stations. To do so is censorship per se, whether the public broadcasting is as patently a way of confirming the gentry in its prejudices, which is what the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is all about, or not. In a world where less restrictive options such as privately owned radio stations and advertisers sponsoring programming, the nonexclusive and partially nonrivalrous nature of broadcasting does not preclude market provision.
Previously, collecting agencies had sent inspectors to visit each household to determine the number of televisions or radios in possession, which led some people to avoid paying the fee by not answering the door, or hiding their devices.