Millions of people in Germany are to receive more money from January 1st with the citizens’ allowance. The criticism of the new regulation is huge. The fact that the Free Democrats are participating here is likely to surprise and disappoint many of their supporters.
According to Struck’s law, “no law comes out of parliament the way it was introduced”. If this wisdom of the former SPD parliamentary group leader Peter Struck (2012) still applies, then there could still be changes to the draft of the citizens’ allowance law.
However, these are likely to be minor corrections at best. There will be no significant cutbacks in the main features of what the traffic light coalition is planning as a successor regulation for Hartz IV.
That means: More money for more recipients of this transfer benefit, much higher allowances for the so-called protective assets, assumption of rent even for expensive apartments, de facto nine-month waiver of sanctions if a beneficiary absolutely does not want to work or continue his education.
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And the highlight of the whole thing: anyone who pulls together to resume vocational training or to continue their education receives an additional 150 euros a month. A bonus for behavior that is actually taken for granted is exactly the opposite of “demanding and encouraging.
With all of these measures, the gap between the net income of low-income workers and the income of those receiving citizen benefits will be even smaller than before. Some will be tempted to stop working instead of working 40 hours for a few more euros.
Is this really “the best Germany that has ever existed”, as Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier put it two years ago? A country in which “support plus some undeclared work” offer a worthwhile alternative for people with low qualifications and in badly paid service occupations?
And all of this with the participation of the FDP, which always loudly demands that performance must be worthwhile again? Isn’t the “free mentality” that FDP leader Christian Lindner complained about when calling for an extension of the 9-euro ticket to be promoted in the social system?
The fact that the Free Democrats are participating here is likely to surprise and disappoint many of their supporters. Because the citizens’ allowance conceived by the Social Democratic Labor Minister Hubertus Heil is exactly the opposite of liberal, market-economy politics.
Now you have to know that the FDP has been advocating “liberal citizen money” for many years. In their election program it said: “We want to combine tax-financed social benefits such as unemployment benefit II, basic security in old age, subsistence allowance or housing benefit in one benefit and in one state agency, also in the sense of a negative income tax. Self-earned income should be counted less than today.”
However, the traffic light variant has nothing in common with this concept. What the FDP supports is classic red-green social policy, garnished with bombastic verbiage in the coalition agreement: “The basic income focuses on the potential of people and help for sustainable integration into the labor market and enables social participation.”
Social participation through an – at least temporary – exit from the labor market? The hairs on the back of the neck of every market economist must stand on end.
Nevertheless: The FDP is the smallest coalition partner in a three-party coalition. In addition, she governs with two left-wing parties, for which redistribution takes precedence over profit. There is hardly a free democrat who supports the red-green-yellow citizen money out of conviction. But coalition life is not just a request concert.
One only has to imagine if a red-green or even a red-green-red coalition governed instead of the traffic light, i.e. without the FDP but with the Left Party. Then, instead of the citizens’ income, an unconditional basic income would be published in the law gazette.
Because many Social Democrats like the Greens have in mind that the state should pay every adult 1,000 or 1,200 euros a month, whether they want to work or not. Then the modified Bible verse applies: “They neither sow nor reap. And the welfare state feeds them after all.”
Citizens’ income is a “basic income light”. Socio-political connoisseurs would speak of an “unconditional basic income”. The FDP can claim that it would have been different without them: significantly more money for even more people with even fewer conditions and sanction options.
After all, the FDP can show that they have now pushed through what the SPD and Greens would have preferred to prevent: the dismantling of the “cold progression” for all (!) income tax payers. If Linksgrün had been able to decide on its own, those who pay most of the income tax would not have been relieved.
The SPD has already demonstrated how something like this works in the grand coalition and enforced it against the CDU/CSU. That is why “the rich” must continue to pay the solidarity surcharge.
Whereby “wealth” for Olaf Scholz and the SPD already begins with an annual gross income of 73,000 euros (single people). There is no trace of “respect” for people who make an effort with the comrade Chancellor.
No, the new citizen money is not a glorious sheet for the Free Democrats. Preventing worse is not enough to distinguish yourself as a creative force. But without this basic income, the industrious and successful would have been punished when the “cold progression” was reduced. Coalition and compromise are just two sides of the same coin. The FDP feels it painfully.
The citizen money replaces Hartz IV. A decision that gives many economists stomach ache. Because people with low incomes are hardly better off than those who do not work at all.
What do you think of the citizen money? Is the work still worthwhile for you personally? Tell us about your life situation, also with a view to the increased energy costs.
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