One could almost think that some MPs from the Greens or the SPD-Left Party are under contract with the finance minister from the FDP.

They complain that his proposals for tax cuts are socially unfair – and that's what gets Christian Lindner and his plans the attention they want.

It had recently happened to the FDP all too often that they pushed through their plans far too easily.

Even their own voters didn't even realize what Lindner's party had achieved for them.

It can be considered almost certain that the ideas will ultimately be implemented in a modified form.

The objections of the coalition partners are primarily intended to accommodate their own pet projects in return when it comes to the next round of energy price compensation.

After all, it is not a question of a tax cut in the narrower sense, but of an adjustment of rates to price and wage developments.

Adjusted for inflation, citizens end up paying not less, but just as much tax as before, and even slightly more in higher income brackets.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz pointed out self-deprecatingly that he had taken this step twice during his own term of office.

In his capacity as chancellor, he would hardly be able to prevent his successor from doing so.

The "cold progression"

What is at stake is not easy to understand right away.

The term "cold progression" is likely to be familiar to only a few.

“Progression” is not a bad thing in the tax scale.

This means that the wealthier not only pay more money to the tax office in euros and cents, but also have to give up a higher percentage of their income.

In this context, “progressive” means nothing other than “advancing” because the tax rate increases disproportionately with income.

And it was actually considered historical progress that the Prussian Minister of Finance and former Mayor of Frankfurt Johannes von Miquel introduced the progressive tax rate in 1891, the basic system of which is still valid today.

This progression only becomes “cold” if it affects more and more people simply through wage and price developments rather than through political resolutions.

Then it's not so good anymore.

The middle class belly

The "belly of the middle class", the second major topic of the heated tax reform debates that were held a few years ago, is something else.

It describes the rapid increase in tax rates in the middle-income sector.

Miquel's linear-progressive tariff, which formed a straight line, turned into a fairly rounded curve with a bulge in the middle over time.

It was squeezed because the tax-free subsistence level grew from below – and the threshold for the top tax rate was raised only slightly above.

The "melting off" of this middle-class belly was always a central point of the FDP's program, but in Lindner's plan it is so slightly noticeable that you can only find the differences with a magnifying glass.

Lindner himself refers to the high burden on labor income in Germany in an international comparison.

International organizations complain again and again that the state in this country cuts so much off small and middle incomes.

But this is less due to taxes than to social security contributions - or rather the specific combination of both.

The taxes have to be paid from the first euro, and they reach their highest value approximately where the top tax rate is also due for the first time.

Anyone who falls into this category has to give up half of their income as they are single.

For each additional euro earned, it is then only 42 percent, because taxes are still due, but no more social security contributions.

The real task of a cross-camp traffic light coalition would lie in a thorough reform of the tax and levy system.

However, the government does not dare to tackle this project, on the contrary: it has only just increased the contributions to the statutory health insurance funds.

Such an undertaking would be expensive, fraught with conflict and probably even more difficult to explain.