The new coalition has kept its promises. She has promised a policy change, and even after the conclusion of the coalition negotiations, there is still hope that this policy change will actually happen. This in itself is a remarkable achievement – after years of stagnation on many pressing economic and environmental issues, for which Angela Merkel (CDU) and Olaf Scholz (SPD) are responsible. The 177 pages of the SPD, the Greens and the FDP employment contract promise to be pleasantly ambitious.
Everything is not sorted out in great detail, but overall everything is in order, it exudes “an atmosphere of optimism in economic policy while maintaining financial strength”, as the economics professor of Lars Feld market in Freiburg, which some may have such an unexpected characterization; After all, the Scholz-SPD prevented the extension of his contract as member (and chairman) of the Expert Council in the spring because Feld was too liberal for that – since then the “five wise men” have only been than four.
It might be considered negligible that the new partners have shied away from clear statements about long-term funding of statutory retirement, the issue is now seen as less urgent than others and will only become really hot in the next few months. legislature. It is precisely for this reason, however, that it would have been so important to move in one direction now – and the debate on this cannot be stifled for four years by opening the chapter on the cheap: “One. good and reliable pension after many years of work are important for employees ”; political explosives are stored here.
Changing demographics endanger the cornerstones of the pay-as-you-go system which, since the Adenauer period, was designed to ensure that a large number of active employees support the much smaller number of retirees through their monthly contributions. If, however, today’s payers overwhelmingly become transfer recipients, there will be too few new active people to keep the system in balance.
In short, there are only three big screws that lawmakers could realistically turn: they can cap pension payments, increase contributions – or raise the retirement age. All of this is known to be woefully unpopular.
Many experts say retirement at 67 is not enough
IG Metall, which supports the SPD, is now even calling for an increase in the level of pensions (from 49.4% today to around 53%), employers, on the other hand, are already tackling higher contributions as a prophylactic. that they would have to pay, and many citizens consider a longer working life to be unreasonable, even though on the whole they live longer and are in good health longer. The gradual increase in the pension to 67, which was once introduced by SPD Labor Minister Franz Müntefering in a necessary and politically heroic act, will not be fully realized until 2031 and is already considered by experts to be insufficient. .
The coalition partners know this of course and are trying to get out of the situation by announcing the “entry” into “partial” financing of statutory retirement insurance. After all, the ‘catch-up factor’ suspended by the grand coalition is being reintroduced, which means: in the event of a crisis with falling wages and salaries, retirees are protected against falling wages by a so-called “lower stop line”, but subsequent increases are also protected by a limited “upper stop line” – which will cap the pension increase over the next two years.
But none of this is enough to guarantee a long-term pension. If the coalition members of Ampel have nevertheless declared the three big adjustment screws mentioned sacrosanct, there is ultimately only a growing tax subsidy of billions. To rely tacitly on this is precisely the decided indeterminacy defended by the previous grand coalition, and contradicts the suggestion of the traffic lights to pursue honest and courageous policies. The time will come when she will bitterly regret it.