Column by Sarna Röser: The German patient: why our country is losing strength
The mood in Germany is bad. The German patient suffers from political disorientation, economic weakness, and a couch potato mentality. It's time to clean.
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How long will we continue to debate the suspension of the debt brake, even if it is anchored in the Basic Law? How long will we continue to hear calls for new tax increases, even though Germany already has almost a trillion euros in tax revenue? And how long will we tolerate the colorful bouquet of social benefits that beg the question of whether work is worth it?
Critical questions about financial and social policy are inevitable. The days when we could rely on solid economic growth and political stability despite the global financial crisis are over. Germany was the only G7 country to fall into recession last year. This has only happened eight times in 75 years of existence of the Federal Republic.
“A very successful career” – Scholz leaves me speechless and angry
No wonder the word “crisis mode” was declared word of the year for 2023. The fact that our Chancellor recognizes the last two years as a “very successful record” leaves me speechless… and angry. Realism and drive are the order of the day, Mr. Scholz!
By 2024, our former powerhouse must gain new momentum. We have to clean. Because the facts speak for themselves: there are many problems both in the population and in the economy.
The mood is at its lowest point. Two years after the federal elections, 79 percent of Germans are “less or not at all satisfied” with the work of the traffic light coalition. No one said they were “very satisfied.”
We see the consequences of political decisions in the streets. Not surprisingly, government economists give the government a mixed report with a rating of 4.0. The lack of a global concept generates uncertainty in the market. Furthermore, a growing trend towards overregulation, subsidies and market interventions can be observed.
Little by little we are realizing that we do not have a problem of income but of expenses. Finally. Fortunately. It remains to be seen whether there will be enough money to strengthen the economy in the next federal election.
About the columnist
Sarna Röser is a businesswoman, member of the supervisory and advisory board and former federal president of the business association “Young Entrepreneurs”. In July 2020 she was elected as the youngest member of the Supervisory Board of Fielmann AG. She is also since 2020 one of the youngest members of the advisory board of Deutsche Bank AG and since 2021 she is a member of the advisory board of the new Coding School 42 of the Dieter Schwarz Foundation (LIDL / Kaufland).
Sarna Röser is known to a wide television audience for her participation as a guest lioness in the eleventh season of the VOX program “The Lions' Den”. The business magazine Capital includes her among the top 40 talents in German business and the Handelsblatt includes her among the 100 women moving Germany forward.
What worries me is that we are losing our bite.
But it is not just about the financial crisis in which Germany finds itself. What worries me is that he is missing out on our bite. Our will to create something. Our willingness to strive!
I never tire of emphasizing that work has to be worth it again. Performance instead of being a couch potato is the order of the day. Let's get out of the whiny little child way in which the Father State fixes everything.
Let's think about those who made our country strong. To our parents and grandparents. Those who made it possible for us to have the prosperity we experience today. That are rolled up. To get back to this situation, we have to establish priorities. These should mean: infrastructure, education and investments in the future.
It is necessary to reduce the high tax burden and rising wage costs. The option to register as unemployed and receive social benefits may only be applied in emergency cases. Because in more and more cases this path is taken to rest, travel or find oneself. And this at the expense of those who work, the taxpayers.
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A plea for the majority: Innovation or ideology: Which Germany do we want to live in?
The new citizen's money: a fatal mistake
This calculation will not work in the long term. That's clear. But instead of recognizing the problem, the traffic light government introduced new citizens' money. A fatal mistake. In name only; because it seems like our system could get by if every citizen received this money and had a natural right to it.
In addition, for certain incomes, incentives are created to receive state benefits instead of working. For example, more than two-thirds of employers in the cleaning sector, the sector with the highest employability in Germany, say that their employees leave their jobs because of the citizen subsidy. And this despite a collectively agreed industrial minimum wage that is above the legal minimum wage.
Receive unemployment benefits, housing benefits, etc. It also tempts you to lie down temporarily in the social hammock. It is not surprising that Hubertus Heil estimates an individual budget for the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs of almost 176 billion euros.
Welcome subsidized unemployment! Our system must ensure that everyone who can work and receive social benefits actually works and that it is economically profitable for them.
Germany has energy, potential and an incredible ability to heal itself.
Germany has energy, potential and an incredible ability to heal itself. We have demonstrated this many times in the past. It is not in vain that we have earned an international name over the years with the quality seal “Made in Germany”.
But, justified by economic crises, digital transformation and ecological objectives, the State has increasingly interfered in our economy in recent years. This era of almost planned economic policy must come to an end.
It is necessary to return to the central idea of the social market economy, that is, the setting of market prices based on supply and demand. Instead of jumping from one debate to another, we need to refocus on what is important: efficiency, economic strength, freedom, cohesion.
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