A good government learns from mistakes.
A bad one makes the same mistakes over and over again.
Unfortunately, the traffic light coalition currently falls into the second category, as the reduction in VAT on gas proves. The government simply does not manage to prioritize the two most important goals during the energy crisis: First, it must do everything to ensure that there is so little gas is consumed as possible.
Second, it must first relieve those who will soon be unable to pay their bills.
Already in the first relief packages, the traffic light got lost in a make-a-wish from the coalition partners.
In the end, among other things, there was the FDP tank discount, which motivated people to use more gasoline instead of less, and from which the gas stations possibly made some money.
So now the reduction in VAT.
This also only reaches consumers if the energy suppliers pass on the lower rate.
However, higher earners with a single-family house and high consumption then benefit more than tenants in the two-room apartment.
So much for respect, Mr. Scholz.
Targeted direct payments to poorer households and parts of the middle class will still have to be made.
The budget now lacks five billion euros for this.
What is even more serious is that the government set the right incentive to save with the gas surcharge, but then cleared it again a few days later.
It sends the wrong signal: it won't be all that bad after all.
Advocating letting the higher prices take full effect and providing targeted relief may sound cold-hearted.
However, responsible politicians must also represent decisions that seem unpopular and explain to citizens that it would be most expensive for them if there was not enough gas in winter and they had to be rationed.
Then Germany fell into a deep recession.
Short-term applause seems to mean more to the Chancellor, who urgently needs positive headlines, and parties who are fighting for every percent in Lower Saxony.