On the one hand, the traffic light government complains about the shortage of skilled workers and sees immigration as the solution. It would also be easier. For example, it could promote early retirement less strongly.

The companies are sounding the alarm. There is currently a shortage of 1.8 million skilled workers. This can be felt in everyday life. You have to wait even longer for a craftsman than before, beds in hospitals have to remain empty due to a lack of staff, restaurants open later and close earlier.

In addition to companies, politicians should also sound the alarm. If less is produced and fewer services are offered, this dampens economic growth as well as tax revenues. A downward spiral.

The paradox is that the government is helping to increase the shortage of skilled workers. With the “Retirement at 63” she has promoted the earlier exit from working life. Only employees with 45 years of contributions benefit from this blessing. These are usually male skilled workers who were paid above average and already have above-average pension entitlements.

Since the beginning of the year, the traffic light has offered an additional incentive to switch from full-time work to part-time retirement. Anyone who retires earlier can now earn unlimited additional income. Until now, this was only possible after reaching the standard retirement age. The consequence will be that many workers give up their full-time jobs, retire earlier and then continue to work part-time.

This puts a strain on the pension fund because the deductions for early retirement of 3.6 percent per year are too low in the opinion of many experts. And it puts a strain on companies because employees with a great deal of experience no longer work until the statutory retirement age, which is currently 65 years and 11 months.

Rather, they will collect their reduced pension and at the same time earn enough extra money to maintain the standard of living they are accustomed to. Maybe 10 or 15 hours a week will be enough for that instead of 38 or 40.

So let’s make it clear: the traffic light is sticking to the “retirement at 63” adamantly, especially at the urging of the SPD; the FDP had to go along with it – against their better knowledge. She categorically rules out an extension of working life, which many economists are calling for. At the same time, it promotes the tendency towards early retirement. All this also increases the labor shortage.

Whatever you call this “traffic light” pension “strategy” – it is not logical. The illogicality is increased by the fact that Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) recently called for “increasing the proportion of those who can really work until retirement age.”

Anyone who has studied financial mathematics will have difficulty keeping up. Rather, years of training in party political tactics help to make sense of these contradictions. Motto: We paint the pension world as we like it.

The “Hü and Hott” of the traffic light in terms of pension policy is not only a burden on the labor market. It also darkens the not too rosy outlook for the financial situation of the pension fund due to the aging of our society. Fewer employees have to finance more and more retirees. And any incentive to retire earlier increases the dilemma.

The statutory pension insurance is based on a simple principle: the more you pay in as a working person, the more you get as a retiree. However, those who want to stop working before the statutory retirement age (from 2031 to 67 years) have to make do with less money.

This deduction is justified because a voluntary early retiree collects a pension for up to five years longer, but at the same time does not pay into the pension fund for five years. However, according to many pension experts, the applicable deduction regulation of 3.6 percent per year and up to 18 percent for five years is underestimated. In order to compensate for the losses of the pension insurance, the pension would have to be reduced by more than 4 percent per year. But that would be highly unpopular.

However, politics – especially pension policy – ​​should always start with looking at reality. And people take it for who they are. When the state offers a discount-free retirement at 63 with a view to a clientele close to the SPD, then the average citizen takes it.

Understandably, he is not thinking about the consequences for the job market and pension funds. Many will see the option of a pension plus unlimited additional income in the same way – as an opportunity for more free time without personal financial losses.

The red-green-yellow government complains about the shortage of skilled workers and wants to combat it with easier immigration. At the same time, she spends a lot of money promoting early retirement and laments the tendency towards early retirement.

When Shakespeare wrote his “Hamlet”, he could not have imagined the traffic light’s jumping around for pensions. But his sentence, “If this is madness, there is method in it,” gets to the heart of the matter. Unfortunately.