Christian Lindner (with party friend Wolfgang Kubicki): Is planning already unrealistic?
Britta Pedersen / dpa
Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner does not intend to officially present the budget plans for 2023 until this afternoon.
However, the associated government draft is already being hotly debated ahead of the federal cabinet meeting.
The Union faction accuses the FDP politician of a dubious budgetary policy.
The budget spokesman for the CDU/CSU parliamentary group, Christian Haase, said compliance with the debt brake was only on paper.
»The household is not solid and more than sewn to the hem.
It resembles Potemkin villages.
The Federal Minister of Finance acts like a driver who drives into a smoke screen and hopes not to hit anything and get out again without an accident.«
According to the draft, in order to be able to comply with the debt brake, the federal government should also use the billion-dollar reserve more than previously planned.
The debt brake allows only a small amount of borrowing.
Only 17.2 billion euros in new borrowing planned
Union parliamentary group leader Mathias Middelberg also attacked the plans.
The CDU politician told the “Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung” that Linder was “formally” complying with the debt brake with the draft.
"In fact, the planning is already unrealistic." The economic data on which it is based is already outdated, said Middelberg.
"The situation is expected to continue to deteriorate due to the Ukraine war and inflation."
Lindner's draft budget stipulates that, in order to comply with the debt brake, new debt should only be 17.2 billion euros - after almost 140 billion this year.
This should succeed not only with the withdrawals from the reserves but also through the phasing out of corona-related expenses and thanks to higher tax revenues.
The draft budget has a total volume of 445.2 billion euros, around 50 billion euros less than in the current year.
Middelberg criticized that the draft budget "lacked any ambition".
A real review of spending, which the traffic light had expressly promised in its coalition agreement, is not taking place.
»One searches in vain for sustainable restructuring.«
Tax privileges for the super-rich under criticism
For the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB), on the other hand, the plans already go too far.
Board member Stefan Körzell spoke of a “dictate on austerity”.
Pointing out that there should be no further relief this year, Körzell said: "Finance Minister Lindner is taking the wrong exit here several times." The coalition partners in the traffic light would have to bring Lindner to his senses, otherwise social peace would falter devices.
Körzell called the debt brake a »future brake«.
Investments in the socio-ecological climate change are now necessary for the transformation to succeed.
»Instead, Lindner is choking off investments, demand and thus the economy.
This is how Germany will slide into the next crisis instead of coming out of the current one stronger.« Spending cuts are completely the wrong way to combat high inflation, because the causes of inflation are not government spending, but specific supply bottlenecks.
The organization Bürgerbewegung Finanzwende also attacked the budget plans.
"If Finance Minister Lindner is serious about solid state finances, then he must overturn tax privileges for the super-rich," CEO Gerhard Schick told the newspapers of the editorial network Germany.
For example, tax exemptions from inheritance tax, which cost billions, have been retained to this day.
40 percent of people who received an inheritance or a gift with a sum of more than ten million euros paid no taxes at all.
"This is an intolerable situation, especially in these times when Christian Lindner is talking about deprivation," said the former Greens member of the Bundestag.
»When many people have to tighten their belts, parallel gifts for the super-rich are poison for social cohesion.«