The pension package proposed by Federal Labor Minister Hubertus Heil has been approved by the cabinet. It primarily fixes the pension level at 48 percent. What Heil praises as an important step towards a comfortable retirement, however, has been sharply criticized by economists. An overview.

Economic experts have hardly anything good to say about the second pension package from Federal Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD). Seldom have we heard so many harsh condemnations from so many different quarters. FOCUS online has compiled the opinions:

Pension economist Bernd Raffelhüschen, professor of public finance at the University of Freiburg, said in an interview on the TV channel Phoenix: “This is a major step towards disaster. We have trampled on intergenerational equity in this pension package, we have not applied the polluter pays principle, we have kept the statutory retirement age constant, so basically everything that can be done wrong has been done wrong.”

Raffelhüschen regularly criticises the fact that the burden of statutory pension insurance is increasingly being placed on contributors: “This is something that is neither fair to all generations nor to the polluter, because the burden is not borne by our children but by the baby boomers; it is their own fault that there are so few contributors.” 45.8 million employed people currently finance 21 million pensioners. In order to keep the pension level at 48 percent, the contribution rate is to rise from the current 18.6 percent to 20 percent in 2028 and 22.3 percent in 2035.

The head of the Council of Economic Experts, the so-called economic wise men, Monika Schnitzer, told the “Rheinische Post”: “The pension package II is unfortunately the opposite of the Council of Economic Experts’ proposal. It is not fair to all generations and certainly not the big step needed to stabilize the pension system in the long term.” Schnitzer and the other experts on the committee are calling for pensions to be linked to price trends instead of to wage growth as has been the case so far (you can read what this would mean for pensioners here). She also criticizes the planned generation capital. It “falls far short of the Council of Economic Experts’ proposal for a share-based pension and will not significantly relieve the burden on the pension system,” said Monika Schnitzer in the RP.

DIW boss Marcel Fratzscher, a regular advisor to Chancellor Olaf Scholz, believes the federal government’s second pension package is a mistake. It is “good news for the baby boomers,” he told “But in concrete terms, it also means that there will be an even greater redistribution from young to old. In order to keep pension levels stable, employees’ contributions will have to rise, from 18.6 percent at the moment to 22.3 percent in 2035.”

Fratzscher also criticizes the planned share pension. The so-called generation capital of 200 billion euros will “not generate enough return to noticeably reduce the burden on the statutory pension.” It is about ten billion euros in additional income per year. “That is. That will not be enough to better support the statutory pension.”

He is also bothered by the financing of so-called generational capital through debt: “I think that’s a bad idea. Not because it’s fundamentally pointless, but because it sets the wrong priorities. The Federal Finance Minister and the Federal Government are taking on debt in order to invest the money in foreign companies. They don’t want to take on debt in order to invest in education, in qualifications, in good infrastructure in Germany.”

“The second pension package basically cancels the burden sharing between young and old for the consequences of demographic aging. I don’t know whether that is fair. But it is definitely a short-sighted reform,” says Martin Werding, professor of social policy and public finance at the Ruhr University Bochum and member of the panel of economic experts on ZDF.

“We are two or three years away from a real jump in pension contribution rates,” said the economist. The increase will quickly reach 20 percent and continue to rise, even under the current rules, and the pension package will now accelerate this process: “The process will unfold more and more rapidly over 10 or 15 years. In the period up to 2039, which is what this pension package is now supposed to cover, 500 billion euros will have to be paid in additional contributions,” explained Werding – and the contributors will have to shoulder this burden.

The reform will only provide short-term security for pensioners. However, pensioners should not rely too much on today’s promises: “I am pretty sure that once the contribution rate really starts to rise, the whole thing will be reopened. And we will only really be able to provide long-term security if we start to save additional amounts in the pension system,” says Werding.