If everything is not wrong, the SPD, Greens and FDP will not only forge a coalition, but also agree on tricks to soften the debt rule.
You don't know what is more frightening: Is it the audacity how the Basic Law is dealt with?
Or the shrug of benevolence with which the plans are received?
You don't hear an outcry.
There is even encouragement from economists for a debt-financed investment offensive.
The ends do not justify the means. Of course, Germany has to invest in climate protection and digitalization. But in the end there has been the least lack of money. It often does not flow because the planning process, including legal proceedings, is taking too long. The intention to bring more speed in here is to be welcomed. The coalition, which is in the process of finding, does not want to wait to see whether the funds will flow out faster, but rather to provide new ones immediately.
Of course, the debt brake is restrictive.
Because experience teaches: There are always good reasons for new loans, and the associated burden is generously left to the next generation.
As the mountain of debt grows, the leeway for later governments decreases.
And they also need legroom, because there will always be unexpected crises.
It is not God given that interest rates for the state will be around the zero line forever.
That can change quickly, not least if confidence in public finances is lost.
The state can only remain capable of acting with stable finances
The fact that climate change and its dramatic consequences are delayed and threatening those who are young today or not yet born does nothing to change the importance of stable finances. On the contrary, this is the only way to ensure that the state will remain capable of acting in the coming decades and that it will then be able to cope with what may then be even more difficult tasks. That doesn't mean that a red-green-yellow coalition cannot do anything about global warming. Today it has to set the right priorities for this. All the more astonishing are the determinations in the exploratory paper, which lead to the expectation of considerable additional expenditure for the pension insurance and for the new citizens' allowance. It appears that social policy remains a priority.
What is planned?
Missing funds should obviously be raised bypassing the debt brake.
Olaf Scholz, still finance minister and in all likelihood soon to be chancellor, refers to the KfW development bank and the railway, which could of course make further investments.
The Greens co-chair Annalena Baerbock recalls the debt brake, which allows higher borrowing for natural disasters or extraordinary emergencies.
It combines this exception clause loosely with infrastructure necessities.
Side pots are difficult to control
Budget law is considered to be the royal right of parliament. The MPs control the government. You are the taxpayer's trustee. You have to weigh up whether a task becomes an expense and thus a burden on citizens and businesses. Sideline funds such as the energy and climate fund make business easier for the government because it can continue to operate with the funds beyond the end of the year, but it makes it more difficult for parliament and the public to monitor it. Separate laws apply to the KfW development bank and the railway. Political influence often takes place in subtle ways. That, too, should be a reminder of caution.
The idea of taking out loans for other purposes with the corona label is completely absurd. This is not the way to deal with the constitution. In addition, extra debts that a coalition incurs must be provided with a repayment plan according to the debt rule and paid back within a reasonable period of time. That would add to the burdens associated with the 2020 and 2021 pandemic budgets anyway: in 2023 the repayment will start slowly with 2 billion euros, but for 2026 the Ministry of Finance is already calculating at 20 billion euros.
It is not a question of whether Germany should invest more or whether it can take out more loans.
The line drawn by the debt rule may be arbitrary.
More investments may also make sense.
That doesn't change anything: the SPD, Greens and FDP must respect the Basic Law.
A coalition that, despite all warnings, presents an unconstitutional budget, deserves no respect.
That would be a very bad sign of departure.Keywords: spd, government, germany, coalition, way, greens, debt brake, course, constitution, benevolence, climate protection, business, traffic lights, debt, olaf scholz