The pension dispute is not yet over when Chancellor Scholz opens the next bottomless pit. The Greens are meanwhile scratching the debt brake. Gambling with the red lines of the traffic light partners begins.

The traffic light often lacks a common line, but its actors often draw their own red lines. For the SPD it is the welfare state, especially pensions, for the FDP it is a general change in government spending that they are aiming for, and for the Greens it is climate protection and renewable energies.

The FDP now wants to prove every week how agile it is: economic turnaround, pension turnaround, budget turnaround.

While there were twelve programmatic points for the economic turnaround that the Liberals were longing for, they now make do with five on the subject of the welfare state – and hit the SPD, the largest government partner, in the red. Increasing social spending: Poison for growth and prosperity, the FDP believes, a “flash in the pan to the detriment of future generations”.

In particular, the Liberals have envisaged a pension at 63 without deductions for those who have been insured for a long time. This not only brought numerous SPD leaders to the scene, who reacted with predictable disgust and indignation. Now the Social Democrats’ “AG 60 Plus” has also spoken out.

Her name says it all, and her voice is important given the increasing aging of the electorate in Germany. She accuses FDP Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner of a “pension blockade” and gets upset: “The increasing disrespect towards the over 20 million pensioners is unbearable.”

According to the FDP, the burden of taxes (the pension is already largely financed by taxes) and social security contributions is difficult to bear, but above all hardly bearable, for the younger people in the state who are still working: “We are allowed to increase their performance not be overwhelmed by exploding increases in spending, especially in the social systems.”

State failure: How our politics is driving Germany into the wall

The pension dispute isn’t over yet when SPD Chancellor Olaf Scholz, a specialist for changing times, is already opening the next bottomless pit: increasing the minimum wage to initially 14, then 15 euros (now: 12.41 euros). The deputy chairwoman of the SPD parliamentary group, Dagmar Schmidt, seconded: “Our country is not a low-wage country and must not be cut to waste.”

That was a nice new excitement not only for the FDP, but also for the employers. The President of the Confederation of German Employers’ Associations (BDA), Rainer Dulger, promptly accused the Chancellor of inadmissible interference: “It is extremely dangerous for our economy, job security and collective bargaining autonomy to constantly increase the pressure on the Minimum Wage Commission for election campaign reasons – and that more than a year before the next decision.”

The Greens, who initially reacted remarkably cautiously to the FDP’s advances, then also sent a signal that must deeply worry Finance Minister Lindner, who, if necessary, is the last person in German politics to want to stick to the debt brake. Green party deputy Konstantin von Notz announced in the “Tagesspiegel”: “In times when our freedom is under as much pressure from an aggressive Russia and extremists of all stripes as it is currently, certainties must be put to the test – including the debt brake in its current form Shape.”

FDP General Secretary Bijan Djir-Sarai, on the other hand, is of the opinion: “If we want to strengthen Germany as a business location, then not only a smart economic policy is necessary, but also a solid financial policy.” He added: “The taxpayer’s money is not for us any distribution mass. For us, by the way, it’s not the state’s money, but the citizens’ money.”

In this context, it should be noted that the members of the German Bundestag will benefit from a six percent increase in their diets – while this year’s pension increase will be lower at 4.57 percent. The so-called MP compensation will increase from 10,591.70 euros per month to 11,227.20 euros on July 1st. State party financing is also increasing: its absolute upper limit for 2024 will increase by 4.6 percent compared to the previous year and amount to 219,244,906 euros.

At the same time, according to experts, Germany has an urgent investment need of around 600 billion euros over the next ten years. It affects housing, education, transport infrastructure and climate protection.