Who wins, who loses? The exegesis of coalition agreements is one of the classic exercises after the formation of a government. It's about the noble question about the future of the country - and the profane curiosity of who won the poker game of the past few weeks. The SPD, Greens and FDP agreed in good time on a paper entitled “Dare to make more progress” in order to be able to elect Olaf Scholz as Chancellor during St. Nicholas Week. There is a winner in the public eye: Christian Lindner. There are two reasons for this: The FDP chairman not only outperformed Robert Habeck from the Greens in the race for the influential Finance Ministry, but also brought forward his party's liberal promise - at least in the subline of the treaty, it says: Alliance for Freedom , Equity and sustainability.

Lindner made it clear early on that he definitely wanted to avoid the mistake of 2009, when his predecessor at the time wanted to travel the world and do foreign policy rather than take care of the disdainful Mammon in his native Berlin. During the election campaign, his party scored particularly well with promises of tax reform. The sad end of the story for the FDP is well known. Lindner succeeded in turning things around, he led his party back to the national political stage four years ago and now even makes it into government with it.

The FDP leader is therefore stronger within the party than almost anyone before. But is that enough to be the next finance minister? What can the liberal politician achieve in tax policy, for citizens, for companies? When looking at the coalition agreement, a strange imbalance becomes apparent: Everything that is important is missing: no statement on how to deal with the remaining solos, no promise of relief, no waiver of tax increases, no ruling out a revival of the wealth tax. Instead, the traffic light partners promise a matter of course that they want to implement the Federal Fiscal Court's pension ruling. They also list smaller projects: two years of “super depreciation” for investments in digitization and for climate protection, an extension of the extended loss offsetting until the end of 2023,an expansion of the home office regulation to the next year as well as increases in the training allowance and saver allowance. These things shouldn't be dismissed as trivialities. But they cannot cover up the fact that the three parties are slowing down and not tackling a major tax project.

Stagnation means regression

Anyone who looks beyond their own limits sees a need for action.

When it comes to the burden on companies, Germany ranks ingloriously at the top.

The investment location suffers as a result, advantages such as the location in the heart of Europe, well-trained and motivated workforce and a decent infrastructure do not help.

The global minimum tax for large corporations will not eliminate tax competition, it could even intensify it.

It is not enough for traffic light representatives to rule out tax increases.

There is a real risk here according to the motto: standing still is going backwards.

It is telling that the new coalition does not want to tackle the income tax. All three parties promised in the election campaign to relieve small and medium incomes, but since the SPD and the Greens in return want to gain more access to higher incomes, which the FDP rejects, there is a standstill here too. There has been no reform worthy of the name for more than ten years. Only the secret tax increases resulting from the interplay of inflation, wage equalization and the progressive tariff were compensated. This is how you turn off the cold progression, but not the hot one: when the economy grows in real terms and salary rounds are above the inflation rate, the burden on the citizens creeps upwards. Over the years, people with middle incomes end up in regions that were intended for top earners.

Dealing with the solos is a tragedy.

More than three decades after German reunification, the tax surcharge lives on in spite of all previous promises. It burdens high incomes, but also corporate profits and savings.

There is no consensus on what the income tax should look like without solos.

In this way, the Federal Constitutional Court can once again make tax policy.

And as finance minister, Lindner is allowed to sell stagnation in fine words.

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