Nothing Left to Cut: Italian Anti-Sandwich Patrols

Here's another reason Europe can't endure one more minute of austerity: Without ever-larger bailouts, there will be no money to pay for anti-picnicking cops in Rome. The Eternal City this week made it illegal for tourists to sit and eat near public attractions: 

Tourists will still be allowed to eat while they walk, but stop with a bag of chips in your hands or sit down while chewing on your panino, and you are eligible for a fine of 25 to 500 euros ($32 to $650). An Italian daily newspaper dubbed it the “War on the Sandwich.”

Dressed in their white and blue uniforms, local police officers Alessio Valentini and Magdi Adib were on patrol Thursday looking for anyone daring to flout the new law.

They shoved away a group of young Dutch tourists who sat next to the Colosseum to enjoy their pizzas. “Go, go,” Adib told the bemused boys, who didn’t know which crime they had committed.

The officers told NBC News they had fined seven tourists -- all foreigners -- since the morning. The standard penalty was 50 euros ($65).

Germany, which sends the second-largest number of tourists to Italy every year, must wonder sometimes what it's getting in exchange for bailing out the rest of Europe. Be of good cheer, Fritz: You're not just paying for rioters in Turin, parkour protesters at the Vatican and dumpster divers in Naples. You're also making sure the snack police are getting a living wage as they slap you with fines that (typically in a nation with one of the highest rates of tax evasion in the world) they expect you won't actually pay: 

“Most of them are foreigners, so I doubt they will pay the ticket before they go back to their countries," the officer said. "It’s more likely they’ll keep it as a souvenir."

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    If the Eye-talians could just get the Krauts to start breaking stained glass windows, they could slap them with fines and get the windows replaced. It would be the perfect storm of economic recovery.

  • ant1sthenes||

    Is Israel having any economic problems right now?

  • Entropy Void||

    Das neue Keynesianisher Kristalnacht!

  • ||

    Needs the word "reich" somewhere hahaha

  • ||

    You know who else got a bunch of Germans to break a lot of windows?

  • SIV||

    You could get rid of all Roman funding for enforcement of anti-picnic laws and the resulting dent in municipal spending would so small it would not even count as a rounding error.

  • johnl||

    It's funny. If it's the Roman war on sandwiches or USA cowboy poetry, then it's an extravagance. But PBS, NEA, are NEH rounding errors conservatives shouldn't mention.

  • ||

    It's not that they shouldn't mention them, which you would know if you actually read any of the posts. It's the fact that conservative politicians bandy those things about as if cutting them means they're hardcore budget hawks. It doesn't.

    Reason, on the other hand, mentions shit like cowboy poetry readings to show how government spends money on things not even REMOTELY in the public interest.

  • ||

    And this post just goes to show how much bullshit the Italian government is spewing when it claims they've cut all they can. If something as minor, and relatively cheap, as this is still able to be passed, what sorts of more costly things haven't been cut?

  • db||

    It's the asymmetry of the situation. It's small potatoes compared with the rest of the budget so no politician is going to die on the "kill PBS funding" hill. On the other hand, those puppeteers need to eat, and you're taking bread right out of their mouths. Hence, as long as people view it the proper role of government to subsidize this kind of shit in the least, budgets will never be cut, and expenditures will always grow, especially for the petty shit.

  • Brett L||

    I wonder if I still have my Costa Rican speeding ticket...

  • Xenocles||

    Actually, this is probably a net positive from a purely fiscal standpoint.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Off topic: Philly HS student vilified by teacher for wearing a Romney shirt.

    She said the teacher compared her to the worst racists in history -- the Ku Klux Klan.
  • Sevo||

    BakedPenguin| 10.6.12 @ 9:42AM |#
    "Off topic: Philly HS student vilified by teacher for wearing a Romney shirt."

    And in the dead-tree news this morning, an Obamabot claimed Romney had 'crossed the line' in his aggressive questioning of the anointed one.
    Heaven forbid he should be judged by his actions.

  • Agammamon||

    Methinks that their are worst racists in history than the KKK.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    KKK is sure up there if you're talking about organized racial violence. You could probably say the Nazis were worse, but then again they had control of a nation-state and its military which the KKK never had.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Yeah, it was probably the European history teacher.

  • ||

    Joshua from the book of Joshua.

    Pretty sure he killed all the Canaanites.

  • ||

    Genocide, maybe. But did the Canaanites count as a race?

  • Tulpa Doom||

    If Hitler had a book he'd probably say he killed all the Jews. Fish stories are just as common among genociders as the rest of the population.

  • ||

    In that vein, didn't the Egyptians sometimes rewrite their failures as victories?

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    Friz can keep a couple of things in mind:

    Italy is special. Italy has always been a unique entity in Europe.

    It's a bizarre economy in that while the traditional models of measuring economy fail the country, things at the personal level tell a different story. The average net worth of Italians is 350k.
    What's the personal debt levels of North Americans again? Italians don't invest their money in the markets either. The only institution they trust is the family. So a lot of cash is "unaccounted" for.

    Moreover, its black market is estimated to be anywhere between 40% and 60% of GDP. Add that back into "real" GDP and Italy is bigger than France and the UK by a Turin mile.

    On the other hand, its labour market is way too rigid and inefficient, the country too corrupt (much like France), and slow or little growth is what leads to semi bail-outs.

    Last, Fritz, as you know, Italy ain't Greece or Spain. Some of the world's greatest brands and foods come from there. It gives you treasures so profound, it leads the list of UNESCO heritage sites. It has a magnificent industrial and manufacturing base producing goods and services you can use - You can wear Armani, Arnette glasses, eat a gelato while you drive a Maserati or Vespa or Moto Guzzi as you ride around Lecce if you so desire.

    That's your "trade-off."

    Read about that teacher and Romney/KKK.

    Have we ever seen an incident where a conservative teacher sent a kid home for wearing an Obama t-shirt?

  • TheSpiteHouse||

    Heh. I didn't know about that black market. I suspected a sizable gray market.

  • robc||

    Fritz should also remember that he has other options to get Italian goods, just like Alaric did in 410 or Genseric in 455.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    Don't forget Beretta and Stoeger.

  • Calidissident||

    +1 for the shoutout to Lecce. Land of my ancestors!

  • Sal Paradise||

    We're not cutting fat, we're cutting bone!

  • ||

    Good thing I'm not planning a trip to Eurotrollia anytime soon. Here in flyover country, I actually hang out and drink with cops sometimes.

    Wer faul Italiener müssen anfangen zu arbeiten.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    Probably due to rent-seeking by the restaurants near tourist attractions. They probably don't allow food trucks in St Peter's Square either.

  • ||

    Have not been to Rome, I have been to Venice.

    Italians are fucking dicks....if you don't like tourists it might be a good idea to not work on a train or a restaurant in Venice or live in a tourist area.

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