The crisis shows how stable the moral foundation of a party is. Sometimes it is necessary to deal with several crises at the same time. This sharpens the view of the character of a political position.
Corona, climate and war: The problems of the present are bundled in this triad. Their dimensions can at best be guessed at, and they will occupy the country for years and decades. That much is certain.
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What is also certain is that it has never been more important to have a strong state that can make the necessary investments and cushion financial hardship.
Developing a vaccine against Covid-19 was also possible thanks to a private initiative. But procuring it millions of times, setting up test and vaccination centers, enabling short-time work, compensating for loss of income, imposing mask requirements and lockdowns: that was only possible through and with the state.
Get out of nuclear and coal energy, expand renewable energies, replace fossil fuels, lay power lines, support the consequences of global warming in solidarity: This is only possible through and with the state.
Making yourself independent of Russian energy imports, building liquid gas terminals, investing 100 billion euros in armaments, caring for refugees, supplying weapons: that can only be done by and with the state.
The FDP does not like a strong state. It relies on individual freedom and personal responsibility. In the fight against Corona, liberals advocate a higher risk of infection instead of a mask requirement. They are against tax increases. They are against a speed limit on motorways and have pushed through the subsidization of the price of petrol by means of a tank discount at traffic lights.
Now the oil companies are pocketing much of that money and maximizing their profits. The FDP rejects the idea of levying an excess profit tax on these profits. Finance Minister Christian Lindner promises that the debt brake will be observed again by 2023 at the latest.
What is that? Contradictory, immature, grotesque? It is mainly silly, small and short-sighted. In November 2017, Lindner, then head of the FDP, broke up a Jamaica coalition with the legendary justification that it was better not to govern than to govern incorrectly. Now that we are responsible for shaping the country, this dictum has turned into its opposite. Apparently, for many liberals, it is better to govern badly than not to govern.
A fourth challenge is already emerging. The pressure on the government to ensure social balance is increasing. Around eight percent inflation, rising rent, food and energy prices – sooner or later this will make low earners the lowest earners and drive people into homelessness.
Seniors with low pensions and private households who only receive basic security are particularly affected. Social associations warn that the queues in front of the panels are getting longer and longer. Social issues are pushing with force onto the agenda of the traffic light coalition. All previous relief measures will hardly mitigate this force.
The government, however, is blocked by an FDP, which strictly rejects any initiative intended to expand the state’s financial leeway. That’s not in the coalition agreement, it says. In other words: no wealth tax, no excess profit tax, nothing reminiscent of the Robin Hood motto of taking something from the rich in order to be able to give it to the poor.
Instead, differences are rhetorically obscured. After all, inflation hits everyone, everyone has to tighten their belts. That’s correct.
Only the fate of high earners who do without a second car cannot be compared with poor people for whom butter has become too expensive. An FDP that does not understand this endangers cohesion in times of crisis.