Union calls for “immediate program” for the economy: Merz is pushing ahead

The Union calls for an “immediate program” for the German economy. The idea is basically good – but the initiative is still immature.

A comment by Tim Kummert

It sounds like it often sounds these days when a push comes from the Union: Loud. Passionate. Logical. In this case, Markus Söder, the already not quiet CSU Prime Minister from Bavaria, thundered in the “Bild am Sonntag”: “The economy abroad is growing and Germany is falling further and further behind.” CDU leader Merz called on the traffic light coalition to vote together with the Union in the Bundestag for a reduction in electricity tax and network charges. “This means that energy prices could fall as early as October 1,” he told the newspaper.

The statements by Merz and Söder are a reaction to the current headlines: Germany is slipping into recession. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) assumes that the German economy will shrink by 0.3 percent this year. The economy in Spain, on the other hand, will probably grow, as will Italy. Of the 30 countries surveyed, the Federal Republic is in the third-worst place, with only Pakistan and Argentina doing even worse. Half-serious jokes about the “sick man of Europe” are already doing the rounds again.

Problem recognized, danger not averted

The Union has therefore correctly identified the problem. Germany needs to change course in terms of economic policy. But as is often the case with particularly loud and logical-sounding solutions: they fall short. It is now similar: The five-point paper drawn up by the CDU and CSU contains many descriptions of the problem, but too few concrete solutions.

For example, there is the proposal to lower the electricity tax on October 1st. That sounds plausible, but remains completely imprecise. What this should look like in concrete terms, what it costs the state, how the costs incurred are counter-financed, how long-term planning with a reduced electricity tax is modeled, when this could be lifted again – the Union does not say any of this.

Another initiative: overtime should be tax-free in the future. The Union is fundamentally shaking up labor policy. Here, too, it remains unclear how such a good-sounding proposal is actually to be implemented in practice. How is this recorded in detail? Who controls this? How is it ensured that there is no fraud? Can the state forgo this revenue?

Populist nonsense

And the best, but also the most meaningless, push by the CDU and CSU in the paper is the demand for “a stop to all new laws that cause bureaucracy”. That sounds great. Who should have anything against that? The problem is: no federal government passes laws so that there is a little more bureaucracy if possible, but in essence coexistence should be better regulated.

Yes, the country is lagging behind when it comes to digitization, and certainly some laws have overly complicated, bureaucratic consequences. However, that is not what they are made for. The Union acts almost as if the bureaucracy were an end in itself for the legislation of the traffic light coalition. This is not only nonsense, but actually populism.

The Union is currently also being driven by the strong polls of the AfD. Becoming more visible with your own positions is exactly the right recipe. But then you need more concrete ideas – pure problem descriptions are not enough. Because these are already known.