The change of power after 16 years as CDU Chancellor is complete.
With Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz, a social democrat is leading the country for the fourth time;
he is already familiar to the citizens through high offices, most recently as Angela Merkel's Federal Minister of Finance.
However, Scholz rules in a coalition with the Greens and the FDP that has not been tried and tested at the federal level.
The fact that the new partners quickly got together under the motto “Dare to make more progress”, despite in some cases very different political approaches, earned them advance praise.
The color combination arouses curiosity widely. The economy is also very open to the traffic light, not necessarily equating with anticipation. The economy overshadowed by the pandemic, the disrupted supply chains and inflation concerns leave little room for unrealistic experiments and wrong turns. Many companies no longer have any reserves, the public coffers are deep in the red.
The bumpy decision-making in the fight against the fourth corona wave has shown how quickly the trio, which is praised for its “style”, can get tangled up.
The vaccination requirement, which was previously clearly ruled out by leading people at traffic lights, will now get them underway.
In the turmoil about the restrictions of everyday and business life necessary for health protection, differences between the FDP on the one hand and the SPD / Greens on the other hand about the understanding of freedom flashed.
The question of what the state trusts citizens and companies is likely to lead to hard arguments at the traffic lights even after the pandemic.
Differences about the understanding of freedom
The virus taught the new government an important lesson before it took off: politics that do not fit in with reality cannot be sustained for long. Since government action always takes place under uncertainty and incomplete information, it is risky to exclude possible ways and means of solving a problem in advance as categorically as compulsory vaccination in the pandemic. The damage to trust is enormous if in the end the opposite of the law becomes what has been promised. Lucky for the traffic light that the public blames the old government for a large part of the vaccination policy errors.
Scholz's coalition should make itself aware that other policy areas - the green transformation and the aging society - could also demand decisions during this electoral period that it did not provide for or even excluded in the coalition agreement. This applies, for example, to innovative processes that extract carbon dioxide from the air and store it in the ground, or new nuclear technology. The topic of the age limit for the regular retirement age could also fall on the feet in an increasingly long-lived society red-green-yellow. After all, the new alliance begins with the wide-legged claim to want to govern more than one electoral term.
The three of them have a chance of achieving this goal if they concentrate on their most important mission: to prove from Germany that demanding climate protection can go hand in hand with strong economic growth and high employment.
The traffic light has resolved to improve the site conditions significantly through faster planning and approval procedures.
That is the whole point of attracting private investors as well.
Not everyone has the financial strength of Tesla boss Musk to build a factory that has been subject to approval for years at their own risk.
Public funds for green and digital infrastructure projects are also flowing out too slowly.
If the traffic light succeeded in breaking this Gordian knot, it would rightly bear the label of progress.
However, the temptation remains great to buy climate progress again through the expansion of subsidies and to hide job losses through early retirement (as in the coal regions) or new types of training aids. Part of the advance praise from companies and unions is fed by the dubious expectation for a market system that the SPD and the Greens would wrest generous subsidies from the FDP treasurer despite the debt brake.
Budgetary behavior will soon show what the government has in mind with the social market economy, which it wants to re-establish as “socio-ecological”.
If it considers competition, personal responsibility and performance to be pillars of the economic system, it would have to strengthen these principles by moderating taxes and duties after the corona crisis.
The redistributing state would have a smaller role that would be more compatible with a market regime and the promise of solid financial policy.Keywords: