Ethere is a bit of irony in the proposal: a new tax should be introduced, a solidarity surcharge on the occasion of the energy crisis – the old Soli is not even gone yet, 31 years after its introduction, which was supposed to be limited to one year.
The demand that came from the economists last week is outrageous by their standards anyway. No one can remember when they ever demanded something like this: Up with the taxes! And if there are no energy solos, then the top tax rate should rise!
Germans currently pay the top tax rate from an annual income of around 60,000 euros. You can definitely achieve that as a technician in the Baden-Württemberg metal industry with some professional experience. With inflation, the income limit for the top tax rate will soon rise as well. Even the economists speak out against it.
“Justice To Our Children”
And as if all of this wasn’t surprising enough, the proposal was unanimous. What’s going on there? Have the economic wise men changed the political front?
The truth is: the composition is new. Two of the five members of the so-called “Council of Experts” have been newly appointed, and their political views are not necessarily as firmly established as those of their predecessors. But that’s not the whole point of your proposal.
The idea is derived more from the concern that Germany cannot take on unlimited debt after all. The experts calculate that the federal government’s benevolence will cost almost 200 billion euros in total in the coming years. Most of this will be financed by new debt. And when the next crisis comes? Can the state do something like this again?
Nobody knows how big the Federal Republic’s financial leeway is. But one thing is certain: This year it will be significantly smaller. “It’s also about fairness towards our children,” says behavioral economist Ulrike Malmendier, the newest member of the council.
Save less with aid packages
The five economists believe that the state treasury should be improved. And the Finance Minister gets the money best from the people who previously got too much: too much help, although they could actually bear the energy costs without any major problems. They may have paid taxes on their money, but there is still something left over. The five council members think that you could take action – for a limited period of time, as long as the gas price brake is in place.
The whole thing would have a useful side effect, the economists believe: the fight against inflation. Why do economists think that raising taxes can dampen inflationary pressures? The idea goes something like this: the many aid packages help people save less. And that in a situation in which Germany is becoming poorer overall – precisely because the country now has to give large parts of the income it generates abroad for energy. If people don’t save enough, but continue to consume, then inflationary pressure threatens to increase. It would be all the more difficult for the European Central Bank to bring inflation under control. That’s why the economists are not angry when tax increases pull money out of private purses and thus reduce the inflationary pressure at least a little.