Dhe negatively connoted name "Hartz IV" is to be used with the reform to the new "citizen money" disappear. And otherwise? In addition to a 12 percent increase in cash benefits, the draft that has now been approved by the traffic light cabinet also contains some approaches to making it easier for the long-term unemployed to find their way into independent employment. Nevertheless, the project comes across as a document of indecision. That reflects the inner turmoil of the whole argument about it. However, considering the real political situation, it is not the worst result.
On the one hand, there is the old story of self-centered social organizations: the whole project is just another act of social indifference and abysmal disregard for poor people, because it is not unconditional basic income brings. And because it doesn't otherwise meet all of their demands - which, by the way, would be neither financially nor socially acceptable.
On the other hand, there is some oversimplified criticism from business and municipal representatives, who already recognize a "giving in" to those who refuse to work if the Job centre people who have recently fallen into long-term unemployment no longer have to be forced to move to a smaller apartment first. There is a plausible justification for the fact that there is now a waiting period for this. As long as there is a chance of rapid reintegration into work, the job centers should take care of that and not the frustrating relocation bureaucracy.
Helping people help themselves
The reform work that is now available is the result of the opposites of these two perspectives, which are also opposed to each other in the traffic light – with some advantages for the social associations. Politically, this inevitably leads to conceptual contradictions. And the confusion will only increase as each side is now spreading its own interpretation of the bill.
The fact is: with the adjustment on January 1, the standard rate will increase twice as much as it would have risen without the reform. However, this only results from the fact that inflation will no longer be included with a delay in the future. In the long run, rates don't rise more than they otherwise would have risen. Anyone who paints pictures of a new hammock with it is overdoing it. On the other hand, the sanction rules for refusers are now opposed Hartz IV in fact a little weakened - but ultimately not nearly as strong as previously planned by the Greens and SPD. In all likelihood, the job centers will continue to have enough leverage in the future to show notorious refusers the limits.
In addition, there is an expanded range of instruments to help unemployed people without vocational qualifications to obtain sustainable qualifications. Also: those who gradually work their way out of unemployment by taking part-time jobs will no longer be punished with extreme transfer deductions.
This is a long overdue first step to remove obstacles that the welfare state itself has built up on the way to work. On closer inspection, the planned citizen income reform is more of a package of selective changes. The core goal of helping people to help themselves remains – as long as the traffic light coalition does not go astray in the parliamentary process.