Retirement at 70, no spouse splitting, even more immigration - these are some of the unpleasant-sounding messages that Monika Schnitzer has to share.

"I'm perceived as a revolutionary in Berlin," the economist replied this week during a visit to the Frankfurt business journalists' club ICFW when asked if she had to be even harder on the plaster.

Behind the question was the concern that economists are not making it clear to politicians how urgent the need for action is to save the economy and the welfare state.

Mark Fehr

Editor in Business.

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You probably don't have to worry about this with a view to Schnitzer.

Because their announcements are clear.

There would have been no diesel scandal with women on the Volkswagen board, as she explained in an interview with the FAS in 2020.

In the same year she was appointed to the Council of Experts to assess overall economic development, together with the energy economist Veronika Grimm.

The body with the bureaucratic-sounding title advises the federal government on economic issues.

The five members are therefore colloquially referred to as economic methods.

Schnitzer has been chair of the Economic Wise Men since October and is the first woman to hold this position.

One of her concerns is to make it easier for women than before to take on professional responsibility.

It's not just about keeping men's roped parties from doing stupid things like the diesel scandal.

It is also about alleviating labor shortages, one of the biggest problems in affluent and aging societies.

According to Schnitzer, we need more and, above all, longer childcare.

Unlike in France, for example, it is hardly possible here to pick up children from daycare later in the evening.

Schnitzer knows the problem from his own experience, because the 61-year-old raised three daughters in addition to her academic career.

That didn't make her popular at the time.

Instead, she was referred to as the raven mother.

labor shortage

But more jobs for women alone will not be enough to fill the gaps.

According to Schnitzer, there is not only a lack of specialized and qualified professionals, but also more and more assistants.

Gone are the days when workers from southern or eastern Europe filled vacancies in Germany in droves and for little money.

These countries are now experiencing a skills shortage themselves.

Therefore, according to Schnitzer, there is no way around more immigration, also from third countries, i.e. from countries that are far away from Europe.

She is aware of the resulting social explosives.

In order for immigration to really help the labor market, Schnitzer proposes extending the so-called Balkan rule to other countries.

According to this rule, people are allowed to enter if they can show that they have a job offer.

In order for this to work, the German immigration offices would have to work in a more service-oriented manner.

So far, even highly qualified people have found it difficult to deal with complicated administrative procedures, so roofers or nursing staff would certainly throw in the towel.

But the Germans, too, have to work longer and longer and forego increasingly lavish pensions.

‚ÄúRedistribution within a generation‚ÄĚ is what the cloudy economists say.

But Schnitzer also expresses this in a plain language version: "Higher earners are healthier and live longer" - statistically speaking.

They are therefore more likely to forego pension payments or increases in favor of poorer peers.

The pension system could also cope if the deductions for low earners were lower.

Because their life expectancy is statistically lower.

This announcement is also highly explosive, but it is true.