DGermany is back to itself. It is not the war in Ukraine that determines everyday political life, as it did a few months ago, but finance and social affairs. It doesn’t work without a pinch of the apocalypse: will there be unrest, uprisings, riots in Germany?
The political and even a little romantic beat that Olaf Scholz chose as an antidote and provisional motto of his chancellorship, “You’ll never walk alone”, threatens to lose its international solidarity mark and become a navel-gazing song.
At his “summer press conference”, Scholz tried not to turn it into a social democratic anthem. He did not jump over the baton in the form of questions about social injustice, which is said to be in the relief package from the FDP chairman, Finance Minister Christian Lindner. No excess profit tax, no increase in the top tax rate, the debt brake applies – Scholz calmed the minds in the coalition by stating that everything necessary could be financed.
But what is the need? Scholz did let it be known that in the debate he was definitely on the side of those whose incomes are on the lower end. And he didn’t have the heart to allow his long-running election campaign “respect” to apply to those with middle and higher incomes. But the chancellor did not side with the economists, who accused the correction of “cold” progression as a lack of redistribution (which is not what it was intended for) and even social indifference.
The third relief package
Scholz emphasized the “joint effort of the entire coalition”, which will decide on further relief beyond the relief that has already been decided. So the SPD and the Greens will still get their money’s worth in the forthcoming new relief package – it would now be the third. It is part of the coalition’s “community performance” beyond this autumn that they will do so at the expense of the FDP in matters of finance and social affairs.
In this ongoing coalition conflict, the Federal Chancellor presented himself to the federal press conference as a mixture of cheerleader, moderator and referee. You could also say: as a typical German chancellor, who in a constellation of three cannot afford a bang-on attitude or excessive partisanship.
That relativizes a lot of what is required as “leadership”. Instead: rest is the first duty of the chancellor. Scholz is in his element with that, even if he then has to say such natural sentences as: “No, I don’t think there will be unrest.”