In a shocking move that took thousands of well-fed Beamte completely by surprise, German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble has actually and even seriously suggested a newly-drafted government plan in which Beamte should be paid according to something he called their “performance” (what they actually do) in the future.

“Huh? What?” asked one dumbfounded representative from the influential German Beamtenbund (Civil Service Employees Association) after he and the rest of the stunned audience realized he had not been joking and stopped chuckling in an abrupt fashion. “Getting paid ‘for what we actually do’? What the hell is that supposed to mean?”

A visibly nervous and heavily perspiring Schäuble then went on to explain that in the future, “a civil servant’s remuneration will be calculated to a much greater degree upon his or her performance, dedication and know-how.” After a few more minutes of awkward silence, another skeptical Beamte raised his hand. “You mean we’ll be getting less, right?”

Schäuble’s “not necessarily” retort did not come as quickly as the audience had hoped and was immediately met with outraged cries of “Starvation wages!” and “Manchester capitalism!” before three worried, tomato-covered bodyguards quickly whisked the minister offstage and into a waiting, armored vehicle.

Schäuble’s office later announced that he had found the discussion very “lively and invigorating” and that he is currently working on ironing out some of the draft plan’s “messy wording problems” as fast as his trembling hands allow him to.

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