All in all, the relief package from the traffic light coalition of Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) is very powerful. Nine reasons explain why none of this will reach the citizens in the end.

Anyone who wants to understand the different distribution of tasks between politicians and journalists basically only has to remember two words: truth and effect.

The good journalist looks for the truth, including the one behind it. He doesn’t use the “political filter,” to take up a bad word from the NDR editorial committee.

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The politician on the other hand always aims for effect first. If truth helps him, so much the better. But it is not a necessary condition for his advancement. As a rule, he puts a partisan filter over the truth – until it starts to glow red, green or yellow.

Which brings us to the word relief package. Linguistically, an orgy of relief has been celebrated for weeks. After the relief packages I and II – together 30 billion euros – the relief package III (65 billion euros) followed yesterday. The finance minister called it “powerful” and the chancellor “precise and tailor-made”.

And indeed: In the relative world of politics that is a relatively high sum. This allows at least a media effect to be achieved.

Within the next twelve months – this claim is daring here – not a single German citizen will be relieved unless they stop heating, filling up, shopping, working and ideally also breathing.

The uncomfortable truth is this: The force of the economic upheavals is greater than the possibilities of the state. The government, which is trying to make its big appearance here in a savior pose, cannot achieve a lasting effect in people’s everyday lives given the elemental economic forces of inflation, a stock market crash, energy shortages and the consequences of a persistent pandemic.

This means that the purchasing power of all workers and employees will decrease by 56.2 billion euros, based on the sum of all gross wages in 2021. The average earner (49,200 euros in 2021) loses around 1,800 euros.

The only remedy here is wage increases that at least compensate for purchasing power. One-off payments in the range of 200 or 300 euros – as now announced – will not achieve any effect here.

We learn: No country in the world can reimburse what an energy market that has gotten out of joint demands of its customers.

Conclusion: At best, the 65 billion package will change the perception of reality, but not reality itself. The government has yet to have a serious discussion with its citizens about the depth and duration of this economic and social turning point. The government does not need money for this dialogue, but courage. Or as the great British storyteller William Somerset Maugham used to say: “Sincere is the boldest form of bravery.”