Citizens’ money is intended to end the Hartz trauma

Citizens’ money is intended to end the Hartz trauma

When it is session week in the Bundestag, Katja Mast invites you into a large tower room. It is located on the south-east corner of the Reichstag building next to the parliamentary group hall SPD, whose Parliamentary Secretary is Mast. She uses the morning conversation to present her political message to the journalists. This week, an introductory remark was also the main headline on the situation of the traffic light coalition. This time it will be less about energy policy and more about social and labor market policy. “The most important law of this week is the citizen’s income.”

The traffic light is almost a year old. But hardly was last December Olaf Scholz elected chancellor and went into the first year of government with his troops, the backpack full of projects with which one wanted to modernize the country according to one’s own ideas, when Vladimir Putin attacked the Ukraine.

“You’ll never walk alone”

citizen money, the shortening of approval procedures, the increase in the minimum wage, which was easy to communicate, and many other projects were suddenly supplanted in the voters’ perception by buzzwords such as the turn of the century, double boom or the slogan “You’ll never walk alone”. These days one encounters social democrats who express doubts as to whether the traffic light is perceived as a government that is modernizing Germany.

So this week should be less about energy prices, which are so high because of gas shortages. With the citizen money, the self-proclaimed progressive coalition wants to show that it is not just a crisis reaction force, but can shape it. The topic is high on the agenda in the coalition agreement: “The citizen’s income should respect the dignity of the individual, enable them to participate in society and be accessible digitally and easily.”

MPs throw in their voting cards in the vote on citizens' income in the Bundestag.

MPs throw in their voting cards in the vote on citizens’ income in the Bundestag.

Image: dpa

There is something special for the SPD. After two decades, she finally wants to put an end to the discussion about the meaning and dangers of the Hartz IV reforms, which was so difficult and sometimes destructive for her, including this term. After all, it cost her a chancellorship and the founding of the Left Party was at least promoted by Gerhard Schröder’s labor market reforms, which were rejected primarily by left-wing Social Democrats. The Social Democratic Federal Minister of Labor should also do this Hubertus Heil thought on Thursday morning when he described the basic income before the vote in the Bundestag as “the greatest reform of the welfare state in twenty years”.

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