During the financial crisis, politicians were rightly criticized because profits were privatized and losses socialized.
In the gas crisis, this scenario threatens to repeat itself in a weaker form.
It is certainly justifiable that end users pay part of the bill.
However, there is a risk that the mine will be much larger than necessary and that companies like Uniper will get off lightly.
Uniper, which until recently viewed America more critically than its “reliable” partner Russia, will most likely be bailed out by the taxpayer, to the delight of shareholders.
In addition, the government is using a pay-as-you-go system to weaken what is by far the most important instrument for encouraging citizens and industry to save gas and keeping economic costs low: the price signal.
The gas industry, led by its chief lobbyist and former Green MP Kerstin Andreae, has apparently managed to get the Green-led Federal Ministry of Economics enthusiastic about this procedure, which could end up costing consumers and taxpayers dearly.
The idea is simple: Uniper and Co buy expensive gas on the world market and pass it on to large suppliers and public utilities at lower prices.
The state pays the difference.
At some point, the costs will then be passed on to consumers.
According to energy frontwoman Andreae, who sat in the Bundestag until 2019 and changed sides in the same year, politicians should “spread out the additional levy for consumers over time” and “spread it over as many shoulders as possible”.
Industry and consumers would then, if at all, feel the full scarcity on distant day X.
Especially since employees are to be pampered with a tax-free and hardly targeted one-off payment from the employer of 1500 euros ("Scholz bonus").
Economics Minister Habeck still has the chance to ensure that the prices are passed on quickly and not to listen to Andreae.
The prerequisite for this is high financial aid for those who are particularly affected by this price shock.
Unfortunately, little is heard of this.Keywords: