Status: 07.12.2023, 14:54 PM
By: Ulrike Hagen
In the discussion about the citizens' money debate, the fronts are hardening. The SPD and the Greens are resisting calls for the "dismantling of the welfare state".
Berlin – The leaders of the traffic light coalition – Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD), Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) and Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) – have once again spent the night. But even the day after, there is no traffic light agreement on the budget. This means that it remains unclear how the 60 billion gap in the federal budget is to be closed. At least in the media, the focus is still on possible savings via the citizens' money. The FDP and CDU want to stop the increase. The Greens and SPD continue to oppose this. The tone becomes rougher.
In the discussion about the citizens' money debate, the fronts are hardening. The SPD and the Greens are resisting calls for the "dismantling of the welfare state". © Imago/dts
FDP and CDU call for zero round on citizens' money: 4.8 billion is at stake
After the climate fund ruling, which was devastating for the traffic light coalition, and the subsequent budget freeze, as a result of which associations have already called on the government to act quickly, the tone in the debate about a solution to the 60 billion gap in the federal budget continues to intensify. Where such a large item should and can be saved remains the question to which no one has been able to give a satisfactory answer so far. The coalition of SPD, Greens and FDP must save 17 billion euros in the 2024 budget alone, which is therefore not only arguing about the debt brake.
In the battle for positions, the debate about supposed "social gifts" in the media is coming to the fore. This refers to the increase in the citizens' allowance, the cost of which will amount to a relatively small 4.8 billion. The FDP has already called for a zero round of citizens' money.
"Subsistence level is a fundamental right": Tone in citizens' money debate intensifies
Andreas Audretsch, deputy chairman of the parliamentary group of Alliance 90/The Greens, told IPPEN's Frankfurter Rundschau . MEDIA: "The subsistence level is a fundamental right and must be guaranteed at all times – even if prices rise significantly. There's nothing wrong with that, there's no dice, there's serious calculation – according to the guidelines of the Federal Constitutional Court." In other words, the billion-euro hole in the budget must not be plugged at the expense of securing the minimum subsistence level. Audretsch explains: "The welfare state must be reliable, especially in difficult times: there will be no dismantling of the welfare state."
"Morally irresponsible": Minister of Labour pledges adjustment of citizens' allowance in 2024
The SPD also resolutely rejects the FDP's demand for a citizens' allowance review. The upcoming increases were decided in joint consultation with the FDP. Federal Labour Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) said on Monday that it would be "morally irresponsible and incompatible with the constitution" to refuse to allow those affected to adjust the standard rates. "Germany is and will remain a social state governed by the rule of law. Decency, solidarity and charity are a strength of our society," Heil said. He assured that the rates would be adjusted.
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In his government statement last Tuesday (28 November), Chancellor Scholz also categorically ruled out cuts to the citizens' allowance. He emphasized that no one who receives a pension, citizen's allowance or housing benefit should worry.
"The welfare state thrives on the acceptance of those who finance it": FDP wants to promote "sensible solutions"
Pascal Kober, labour market and social policy spokesman for the FDP parliamentary group in the Bundestag, weighed in on IPPEN when asked by the Frankfurter Rundschau . MEDIA: "We are experiencing that the regulations on citizens' money are leading to social discussions and uncertainties, which we are sensitive to and which we must meet responsibly, because the welfare state thrives on the acceptance of those who finance it."
He pleaded for "the mechanism to be reviewed again in order to be able to react promptly to the price situation. The current mechanism only reflects the development of prices with a longer time lag, which is not the last word in wisdom." Both in the case of sudden price increases and price reductions, the current solution is taking effect too slowly: "We will therefore campaign for sensible solutions in the coalition," said Kober. "The current adjustment mechanism includes the possibility that there could be a zero round, although this is unlikely due to the consideration of wage developments as part of the adjustment mechanism."