In view of the high inflation, the federal government wants to relieve people with various measures. The head of the social association VdK says: Many groups were simply forgotten, such as pensioners or the sick. Verena Bentele demands 300 euros for every citizen – without exception.
Character is revealed in a crisis, former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt once wrote, referring to the credibility of politicians. His sentence is still valid today. Many people in Germany experience the present as a series of crises. First Corona, now the war in Ukraine are driving up prices in almost all areas of life.
Verena Bentele, 40, is a former biathlon and cross-country skier. Among other things, she won 12 gold medals at the Paralympics. Bentele has been President of the social association VdK Germany since May 2018
Too many people in Germany now have to gear their shopping tours to discount campaigns by discounters and queue at the food bank by the middle of the month at the latest. It is therefore right and proper that the government wants to relieve the burden on the citizens. But the two packages that were put together in nightly coalition meetings are far too full of holes: too many people who urgently need help are getting nothing.
Pensioners, for example, see not a cent of the energy price flat rate of 300 euros, which only workers receive. This is justified with the forthcoming pension adjustment in July, which is 5.35 percent in the west and 6.12 percent in the east. But pensions follow wages. Many workers have already benefited from good wage agreements. With the same justification, they shouldn’t get a flat rate either.
The VdK receives letters almost every day from older people who are just above the entitlement to housing benefit and therefore do not benefit from the heating subsidy. Or people who have worked hard all their lives and are unable to work due to illness or an accident or who have had to retire early. They don’t know how to make ends meet at the moment either. But they are not helped either.
Recipients of sick pay and transitional benefits were also forgotten. Fathers and mothers who receive parental allowance and caring families also get nothing: mothers who look after their children with disabilities, sons who take care of their parents and have taken care time to do so. All of these people fulfill important social tasks, but receive neither the 300 euros for the employed nor the 100 euros for the unemployed. Instead, the energy price flat rate is paid to top earners, who still have 181.80 euros even after tax deduction.
But that’s not all: people who receive social benefits are also treated indiscriminately differently. Depending on whether they receive Hartz IV or basic security in old age, there is a different amount of money: A married couple with Hartz IV receives a total of 400 euros, while many married couples with basic security in old age can only get 200 euros.
If the traffic light coalition now stand up and claim that these relief packages are socially just, it sounds like mockery in the ears of all these people. In any case, it’s not credible. Character is also reflected in the ability to admit mistakes – especially in times of crisis.
A third relief package specifically for all those who have forgotten the first two packages must therefore now be on the table. Or even better: the second package has to be untied again.
We need a system with which everyone in Germany can be reached quickly and unbureaucratically. The VdK therefore demands: 300 euros for every citizen.
He also calls for solidarity financing of the costs. Bremen’s Mayor Andreas Bovenschulte (SPD) is showing the way: his city state wants to vote against the law on Friday, because poor countries like Bremen would be overwhelmed with the financing. He appeals to the federal and state governments to distribute the costs in solidarity. The historical role model is Konrad Adenauer, who in 1952 had pushed through a burden sharing to deal with the consequences of the Second World War. A wealth levy and higher taxes on those who benefit from the crises are now the order of the day.