Ruined basic pension compromise

The SPD is tactically superior to the Union when it comes to the basic pension. Whether their foreseeable triumph will pay off with voters is questionable – the whole idea is simply too bad for that.

Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) in the Bundestag this Friday

Dhe screwed up compromise on the basic pension made it to the first reading despite the unfulfilled conditions of the Union. SPD labor minister Hubertus Heil tastes his triumph. He knows how to assess the coalition partner’s threats to blockade for what they are: skirmishes of retreat.

The CDU and CSU had finally tied their approval of the project, which should automatically raise long-term contributors with small pensions, to two conditions: secure tax financing and a review of the income situation in order to at least partially exclude the benefit of pensioners who are not dependent on it.

Heil’s draft law does not guarantee either. However, the already superficial examination of the need is a technical question that would only lead to a delay in the payment of the new benefit. And the budget reservation has now been taken care of by the corona pandemic in the interests of the SPD. In view of the corona aid pledges for the economy that exceed the trillion mark, the annual costs of the basic pension of around 1.5 billion euros seem like peanuts.

Heil and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz use this circumstance and demand the ostracism of all critics of the basic pension. To be on the safe side, they declare the new service to be part of the fight against the pandemic, in which money does not play a role, because of its effect on increasing purchasing power.

The SPD is tactically superior to the Union when it comes to the basic pension. But whether her foreseeable triumph with voters is paying off? The basic pension is intended to help 1.3 million retirees, including those who do not need it.

Those who are familiar with the social system will notice that they hardly get any more in old age than the current basic security. Of greater political weight than the restrained joy of the beneficiaries, there could be the violent disappointment of those who miss out when they are worse off.

The basic pension should not be a targeted contribution against poverty in old age, but it should often be understood that way. Those who are left out will not thank the SPD, but ask where the money should come from after Corona to help them too.