Because the government is spending the money like there’s no tomorrow, taxes are now being increased. The first step has been taken, unnoticed by the public. From January 1st, the inheritance tax on real estate will increase by easily 500 percent

Who can you still trust? If you ask the citizens, they say: Günther Jauch, the doctor and the police, in that order.

In addition to the Bundesbank and Häagen-Dazs, the other institutions I trusted included the Council of Economic Experts.

My personal trust balance is pretty murky, I have to admit to myself. The Bundesbank has become irrelevant since monetary policy is decided at the ECB. Häagen-Dazs is now owned by Nestlé. The economic wise men stayed until yesterday. If there’s an institution whose advice you can count on, it’s this one, I thought. But that, too, has come to an end, God be lamented.

A few days ago, the Council presented its annual report. The decisive passage could previously be read in the “Süddeutsche Zeitung”, to which the report had been given in advance for media processing. In order to “socially balance” the government’s various relief packages, the economists would recommend a temporary increase in the top tax rate and the introduction of an “energy solidarity surcharge” for higher earners, the newspaper reported.

“Economics for higher taxes” was the headline, which made people sit up and take notice. The “Süddeutsche” delivered the same reassurance: only five percent of Germans were affected. Don’t worry, dear readers, if that means: It’s not so wild, you’re not meant.

One can always agree on the rich as the draft horse. In the case of “Spiegel” the report was illustrated with a picture of white sea villas in the sunlight, in the case of “NTV” the decision was made to use a photo of a man sipping champagne. Unfortunately, there are far fewer rich people in real life than it would take to fund all spending desires.

I knew that they tend to play shells in the media. But the fact that they also went over to the trappings of fools in the distinguished Council of Economic Wise Men, that shook me. You only get five percent of top taxpayers if you count children, the unemployed and the elderly. If you take the number of those who pay taxes as full-time employees in Germany as a basis, you are, whoosh, at almost 20 percent.

Because the German state is a voracious state, the top tax rate hits faster than many think. You are already there from an annual salary of 58597 euros, that is 3000 euros net per month. If you earn that in Munich, you can get 1,800 euros for your two-room apartment, as an acquaintance of mine gallingly remarked: That leaves 1,200 euros for Porsche, caviar and champagne in St. Tropez. Of course, this is not the subject of the autumn report by the economic experts.

I have a fundamental distrust of people who take money out of the citizens’ pockets in order to then bring it back to the people in their name. If the benefits they promise in the parties were paid for out of the party treasury, I would agree immediately. Unfortunately, it works the other way around: you give the benefactor at the expense of your fellow human beings and then scold everyone who doesn’t go along with the swindle as cold-hearted.

Energy has never been as expensive as it is now. But instead of panicking, you should calmly check potential savings at home. As our guide shows, there are many of them.

It is also not the case that the state is in danger of running out of money in the near future. The tax estimates look rosy: plus 50 billion in 2023 and again plus 55 billion in the year after. One would get by wonderfully with the tax revenue if they didn’t spend the money in Berlin as if there were no tomorrow.

The number of state secretaries and department heads alone has almost doubled since the coalition took office. Of course, the Chancellery must also be expanded, for half a billion euros. In addition, there are constantly new large-scale social projects such as citizen income.

The fraud begins here with the term. If there’s anything decidedly uncivil, it’s relying on the effort of others instead of looking after yourself. Mind you, we’re not talking about people who are too old or too sick to be employed. It goes without saying that someone who can no longer count on support from their fellow human beings.

But nobody will seriously claim that the 1.6 million Hartz IV recipients who are registered with the employment agencies are all unable to work because their backs are bad or their hearts are too weak. Most could very well lend a hand if it were asked of them. Because the advocates of citizen income also know this, the Madonna of the welfare state, the single mother, is put in the shop window in discussions, behind which everyone who is neither a single parent nor a mother gathers.

I looked at the small print of the new social security benefit. That will be expensive. In the future, the state will also pay for rent and interest for the first two years – in an unlimited amount. I thought I misread. Unlimited? The aim is to spare people the stress of having to look around for a new apartment during the difficult period of unemployment. This is a fine move, but it also has to be paid for by many people with whom the state is not so generous.

If there is a dividing line between bourgeois and social democratic politics, then it is the relationship to the state. The liberal accepts it as a social necessity, but would never think of deifying it. The social democrat, on the other hand, expects all the best from above. From his point of view there is no problem that cannot be solved with money and an appropriate number of social workers. If, contrary to expectations, the problem persists, well, then there just weren’t enough social workers on duty.

I was at Berlin Airport two weeks ago. For me, BER, as it is called, is the perfect example of the SPD welfare state. Half of Berliners live off transfer income in one way or another, but the airport lacks the staff to man more than one security check. The only ones who show up for work are a couple of German-Turks, who apparently haven’t figured out that they’d get as much if they stayed at home. But don’t worry, word will get around. Then the last gate remains closed. It’s better anyway for climate protection reasons.

The economists defend their proposal for an energy soli by pointing out that they would advise that it be strictly limited in time. Oh, holy simplicity, I thought as I read that. Do you remember the last solos? It was decided in 1991 after a tough struggle to feed the new federal states.

Nobody speaks of “new federal states” anymore. In many western German municipalities one would wish that the inner city were as spruced up as those in the east. But the solos are still there. It took 30 years before it was decided to abolish it, at least for average earners. For the so-called higher earners, who are now the focus again, it still applies today.

The state is a glutton. He’s devious too. Tax increases used to be debated in parliament, but today the corresponding passage is in the Annual Tax Act.

At the beginning of the week there was a report in the business section of the “Süddeutsche” according to which the coalition in Berlin, largely unnoticed by the public, had initiated an “adjustment of the regulations for property valuation”. What sounds so harmless has an impact on all German households for which home ownership is the largest asset item, i.e. for around 50 percent.

The so-called material value factor, on which the inheritance tax is also measured, changed overnight. In the prime example of a detached single-family home that the editors had calculated, the tax liability in the event of inheritance increases on January 1 from the previous 9,625 euros to 57,855 euros. That’s an increase of over 500 percent.

The state, that’s what we all are, is a mantra of Economics Minister Robert Habeck. From my point of view, only politicians who also considered the taking of hostages to be a joint project can say that.

• Read all of Jan Fleischhauer’s columns here.

The readers love him or hate him, Jan Fleischhauer is indifferent to the least. You only have to look at the comments on his columns to get an idea of ​​how much people are moved by what he writes. He was at SPIEGEL for 30 years, and at the beginning of August 2019 he switched to FOCUS as a columnist.

Fleischhauer himself sees his task as giving voice to a world view that he believes is underrepresented in the German media. So when in doubt, against the herd instinct, commonplaces and stereotypes. His texts are always amusing – perhaps it is this fact that provokes his opponents the most.

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