When a sentence comes out that leaves you stunned: “One of my employees receives 2,800 euros net and it bothers him that the other five members of his company have similar economic situations and none of them work.”

A businessman friend of mine recently made this statement. And it is true: the industrial employee with three children receives the same as the citizen benefit recipient with three children. His claim is even 2805 euros. Five pounds more with citizen money than the monthly net salary. This results in buergergeld.org, where everyone can quickly calculate their own rights.

The reality of citizens' money in Germany

This is the reality in Germany in 2024. It is worth mentioning here that employees who are below the citizen's allowance can of course apply for state aid, such as housing allowance. In fact, no employee in Germany has to have less income than a recipient of citizen benefits.

In official language this means: “If your income is not enough to cover your living expenses or those of your community of needs, you can supplement them with citizen money. It doesn't matter if you work for someone else or yourself.”

For me that doesn't make it better. The businessman's statement reminds me of a warning from the late FDP leader Guido Westerwelle. The same person warned in 2010: “Anyone who overburdens the welfare state for too long destroys it.” And further: “Anyone who promises the people effortless prosperity is inviting late Roman decadence.”

With this warning about full state provision, he received a real shit storm. To this day I still don't understand what was wrong with his statements.

I agree with Westerwelle, who also said: “Most people find it unbearable that someone who works often has less than if he didn't work.” Ex-Chancellor Gerhard Schröder deserves a helping hand. On this topic, great tribute is paid to his daring great Agenda 2010 project.

Schröder demanded more personal responsibility

The reform of the welfare state, which essentially had demand and support as its motto, was very brave for a social democrat. In his speech announcing Agenda 2010, Schröder said: “Ladies and gentlemen, we will have to cut state services, promote personal responsibility and demand greater personal effort from each individual.”

This is exactly what Germany needs now! Performance has to become worthwhile again and an industrial employee with three children must necessarily earn significantly more than what a citizen benefit recipient with three children has in his account at the end of the month. Some probably find this statement too harsh. But I go even further: we need the social gap. It just needs to be maximally permeable.

According to public opinion, no one should say that the social gap has its advantages. Yes, we need them as a leading industrial nation. The “privileged” are certainly not allowed to say it without being looked at with suspicion. Political phrases like: “We have to distribute wealth more fairly”, or statements like these from Green Economy Minister Robert Habeck: “In our society, shameless wealth has often increased significantly”, are better received by the majority of citizens than wanting to impose greater sanctions on citizens' money.

Citizens' money: Should Germans receive money without any effort?

However, it remains questionable whether we should really be ashamed of wealth in Habeck's sense. Or if the promise of effortless prosperity isn't the real problem. After all, in addition to “shameless” wealth redistribution, many Greens are also against monetary sanctions on citizens. But what would that actually be like? Should people in Germany receive money without any effort?

I don't think it is objectionable that we learn from childhood: if we want to achieve something, we have to do something for it. And if we want to maintain what we have achieved, even more so. Many parents tell their children when they finish school: “Do something with your life.” This, of course, also means career success in the future. Because first we have to earn the car we dream of, as well as vacations with friends. And if you want to be successful in your career, you must work hard, continue your education, and, if necessary, work overtime.

A simple truth for me, but not for everyone. Let's give the other opinion a moment. The German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) does not believe in the debate over citizens' money. He describes the debate as populist and confirms that people like me have a sad and wrong view of humanity.

The opinion of economic experts about citizens' money.

The DIW's attitude: “The difference between citizens' work and money is not big enough. This argument is based on a sad and wrong view of humanity. For the vast majority of people, work has meaning. They work not only to earn a decent financial living, but also because work is part of a fulfilling life for them. In Germany there are many millions of people who do voluntary work or are dedicated to caring for and supporting their families, without receiving significant financial remuneration.”

The DIW continues: “Some are calling for tough sanctions and the possibility of significant cuts in citizens' benefits and the obligation to work after six months. They suggest that, ultimately, recipients of citizen benefits do not want to work and should be forced to work harder. This may be true for some, but not for the vast majority.”

The DIW continues: “Most of the time the reasons are poor health, lack of qualifications or inadequate care infrastructure for children.”

Just as there is no prosperity without effort, there is no opinion without effort. Create your own. If you would like to share your own opinion with me in the comments section, I would love to hear it. Rest assured, I always read all your comments. Each. Weekly.

With this in mind: If you want, we'll read it again next Saturday.

Yours, Babe Brockhaus