Compromise on citizens’ income: “Too low” or “expensive surprises”?

Status: 11/24/2022 11:35 a.m

Municipalities, associations and organizations have reacted mixedly to the basic income compromise: the taxpayers’ association warned of additional burdens, the “Arche” spoke of “inflation compensation”. Despite criticism, the district council also sees positive things.

The taxpayers’ association has warned of the additional burdens caused by the reform: “The citizen’s income will become more expensive one way or the other – if only because of the necessary increase in the standard rates,” Reiner Holznagel, head of the association, told the “Rheinische Post”. The costs of the new basic security system could bring “expensive surprises” with a view to the extensive assumption of rental and, above all, heating costs.

Many citizens and companies are already having to restrict themselves significantly. “The economic substance of Germany is therefore threatened in many corners and ends,” said Holznagel. “But we need a balanced and targeted system of give and take, of help for self-help for people in need, in order to create broad acceptance in society.” The compromise for the new citizens’ income holds explosive power for social cohesion.

Arche spokesman: citizen money only inflation compensation

Criticism also came from the children’s and youth work “Die Arche”. Their spokesman, Wolfgang Büscher, considers the new citizens’ income to be too low. Around 50 euros more per month is not enough, especially for single parents and families, he said rbb info radio. The increase in rates for the needy is no more than “pure inflation compensation”. Büscher reiterated the demand for basic child security. Many families will probably lack money to live after January. He often sees parents who forgo their own meals so that their children have more to eat. There must be a way out of this “deviled system,” Büscher demanded.

Caritas relieved about compromise

At Caritas, on the other hand, the breakthrough in citizen income triggered relief: “It’s good that there is a compromise on citizen income, because the law has to come into force as soon as possible,” said Caritas President Eva Maria Welskop-Deffaa. In view of the rapidly increasing prices, the recipients of the basic security are urgently dependent on higher standard rates, explained the head of the Catholic social association.

County council: praise despite fundamental criticism

The German district association also welcomed the result of the mediation: “Even if we stick to our very fundamental criticism of citizen income, many improvements have been achieved in the mediation process within the framework of what is politically possible,” said the president of the district association, Reinhard Sager, to the newspapers of the Funke media group. In the version passed by the Bundestag, the law would have reduced important work incentives at a time when the labor market urgently needs workers, said the CDU politician.

Left: rule sets far too “low”

The co-chair of the Left Party, Janine Wissler, reiterated her party’s criticism of the planned regulations. The future standard rates are still “much too low and not poverty-proof”. That’s not a real reform of Hartz IV, Wissler said in the Deutschlandfunk. She referred to the demands of the left for a minimum income of 1200 euros for everyone to guarantee a life above the poverty line. “We want to change this whole system,” emphasized Wissler.

Numerous changes decided

The Mediation Committee of the Bundestag and Bundesrat cleared the way for the introduction of citizen income on Wednesday. This is to be introduced on January 1, 2023 and replace the Hartz IV benefits. This increases the standard rate for an adult by around 50 euros per month. There is an allowance of 40,000 euros, in the original text of the law it was 60,000 euros.

The grace period during which it is not touched is now one year, originally two years were planned. Originally there should be a period of trust of six months during which no sanctions are imposed if those affected do not comply with the requirements. This time is eliminated with the new draft.

Not the pure harmony – citizen income budget debate

Kai Küstner, ARD Berlin, 24.11.2022 11:57 a.m

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