In the summer, the traffic light government announced a gas levy. While many governments in Europe capped energy prices and prepared their countries for the winter, the federal government spent months discussing the opposite: even higher prices.

Now electricity and gas price brakes are to come. Right. But why only now? The Economics Minister must answer this question. Almost ten months after the start of this terrible war! Late, later, Habeck! The people and the companies in Germany pay a high price every day for the “late policy” of the traffic light.

Dietmar Bartsch has been chairman of the Die Linke parliamentary group in the Bundestag since 2015. He was born in Stralsund in 1958. After graduating from high school, he studied political economy at the Berlin School of Economics. He was a member of the SED, in 1990 he became a member of the Berlin-Mitte district executive of the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS). After that, Bartsch was Federal Treasurer of the PDS and also Federal Manager of the Left Party.

Habeck not only delivers the electricity and gas price brakes later than required, they are also defective. No TÜV in Germany would accept the brakes of the traffic lights. There are several design flaws: The brakes apply too high. They can become an invitation to cash in. They are socially unfair and they secure the profits of the energy companies.

Let’s take electricity: 40 cents per kilowatt hour is clearly too high. First of all, this is not a brake, but an accelerator pedal. Germany is actually playing for the world championship title – at least when it comes to electricity prices. For example, the brakes were applied in Austria. The electricity price is 10 cents per household allotment. Why is that not possible there and in Germany?

If the electricity price brake starts at 40 cents, it is logical that no supplier will stay below that with the new tariffs. Correct that the traffic light now wants to control the prices. We’ve been asking for that for weeks. But it is completely unclear how the government intends to prevent any abuse. The planned oversight must not lead to pro forma controls. We need claw-and-tooth price controls that actually depress prices.

If the federal government takes over the bill with more than 40 cents from tax money, it has to have the suppliers explain in detail why 53 cents are being charged here or 66 cents there. The current differences can probably only be explained by the take-along mentality of some suppliers. The federal government must approve or prohibit any new tariff for 2023. Without state price controls, the electricity and gas price brakes are an invitation to cash in and a bottomless pit for taxpayers.

The main problem of the electricity and gas price brakes is the outrageous social injustice. Robert Habeck, myself and the other high earners in the country benefit more from the electricity and gas price brake than the vast majority of the population. The Economics Minister recently said: “It would be fair that those who are particularly needy get a particularly large amount.” The opposite is the case.

The higher the consumption in 2022, the higher the relief in 2023: That is the wrong basic principle. Because if consumption decides, the brakes are in fact a subsidy program for heated outdoor pools. The villa owners benefit the most. On the other hand, anyone who saved or had to save hard this year is stupid.

The lower the consumption, the less relief. This is social explosives and climate policy madness that the traffic light should correct! Citizens must be treated equally, not according to consumption. Otherwise the electricity and gas price brakes would be redistribution from bottom to top and a catalyst for social inequality in the country.

The alternatives are on the table. Why not a fixed citizen quota for electricity and gas per person or household? That would be socially fair. The traffic light does the opposite: it subsidizes the heated outdoor pool and tells ordinary people how long to shower.

What about the energy companies? The traffic light wanted to skim off their profits. Much less is coming now, only from this December and not since the beginning of the war. Around 50 billion euros were pulled out of the pockets of electricity customers alone this year and ended up as excess profits with the energy companies. The government would have to get this money back, but at the traffic light the thriller is on again: “Who’s afraid of Christian Lindner”.

The Bundestag will decide next week. Our request to the traffic light is: Repair your brakes! Lower cap, fixed quota, include heating oil and pellet consumers, solid price controls and a decent excess profit tax on corporate profits!