Study: Large majority wants to ask the rich to pay
The corona pandemic has also triggered a debate about systemically important jobs and the wages of care workers. The results of a new study on perceptions of justice may reflect this.
The vast majority of people in this country would like to see the rich having to give up more of their wealth. This is shown by the results of a representative survey for a study by the Bertelsmann Foundation on the perception of justice in Germany.
According to this, three out of four adults (75.3 percent) agree that the state should "make sure that the gap between rich and poor is narrowed". About the same number of people (76.5 percent) would find a wealth tax for the "rich" good or even very good. However, the question did not specify who counts among the "rich" and from what amount the assets should be taxed.
From the point of view of many German citizens, the distributive injustice felt by the majority is caused, among other things, by non-performance-related remuneration. Not even one in four (23.7 percent) agreed with the statement "In Germany you are paid according to your performance". When the pollsters wanted to know whether their own income was considered fair compared to what others received, the agreement was slightly higher at around 35 percent.
Lower net income - more willingness to give up
The researchers also found that the urge to redistribute decreases somewhat when it comes to your own wallet. According to the study, only 37 percent of those surveyed would be willing to pay more taxes if poorer people received more financial support from the state. It is interesting that those who have a lower net income are more willing to give something of it for this goal than those who have more money at their disposal.
Another finding that surprised the researchers: those who perceive today's society as unfair are more likely to be in favor of more redistribution than others. Overall, however, this does not apply to measures that will only take effect in the future, i.e. that relate more to intergenerational justice. But still: 68.5 percent of citizens agree that the state should do more to achieve the climate goals.
For the study, which was accompanied by the Ifo Institute, 4,900 people between the ages of 18 and 69 were interviewed nationwide in autumn 2021 by the company Bilendi&respondi. With a view to the rise in energy and food prices since the survey, Kai Unzicker, one of the authors of the study, said: "My guess is that what we have seen here has worsened again in recent months."
Abandoned by politics
According to the study, many people felt that politicians were not paying enough attention to them as early as autumn last year. Only about one in five agreed with the statement "Politics take enough care of people like me". The fact that the interests of children and young people were neglected by those responsible for politics during the pandemic is a finding shared by around 72 percent of those surveyed. Just under one in four stated that they had a lot of trust in politicians.
On the other hand, around 70 percent of those surveyed had a high level of trust in the police, roughly the same level as in the 2017 survey.