It was really close: Germany almost slipped into recession at the beginning of the year. Such slumps, in which the economy shrinks for at least half a year, are rare. Even during the epochal Corona crisis of 2020/21, this only happened once. Only mini-growth is now protecting Germany from a new recession. But that is of little value. Because people are asking themselves: Where is the upswing?
It was supposed to come last year, the big boom after the corona shock with closures and existential fears. The big boom, in which jobs and wages increase so much that life finally no longer feels like a crisis. But for joy and opportunities.
But delivery bottlenecks and new waves of pandemics prevented the real upswing in 2021. And this year, too, it will be canceled, that is now clear. That means a lot of frustration for the Germans. And the worries keep growing. Is China’s draconian Covid policy tearing down the entire global economy, including German exports? How close is Europe’s first surface war in decades to Germany? How bad will inflation get?
In such turbulent times, one wishes for a head of government that charismatically shows people a direction. Which answers clearly to the challenges. Calms fears and bravely demands what is necessary from citizens.
Unfortunately, the rum printer Angela Merkel was only replaced by the rum labourer Olaf Scholz in the Chancellery. In terms of communication, nothing has improved so far. And in terms of content, Scholz also weakens. Instead of clearly standing up to the aggressor Vladimir Putin, he puts the brakes on sanctions as well as arms deliveries. And because he does not enforce the necessary vaccination requirement out of false consideration for the FDP, the pandemic is likely to flare up again from autumn and also create new economic problems.
It’s time to move on from the government’s false start and give the Germans better leadership. For this, Scholz could fall back on a number of things that, unlike Angela Merkel, he basically has in his repertoire. This includes his eye for who politicians need to help in uncertain times. Scholz proves that with the minimum wage of twelve euros for millions of citizens who are financially tight.
The Chancellor should transfer this focus to the inflation packages. And relieve those people even more and so calm them down who earn little. But don’t subsidize all citizens with the FDP tank discount. That only drives prices up. Let’s not pretend that someone is a victim of inflation because they have to fill up the climate-damaging sports car more expensively. Higher-earning Germans saved an additional 200 billion euros during the Corona crisis.
It would be right to help companies with quick write-offs and other things in the climate-friendly conversion. Contrary to what market-liberal economists are demanding, the government should just not save. If Scholz pushes the climate change, he modernizes the economy and reduces dependence on Russia at the same time. In terms of foreign policy, this includes boldly sanctioning the aggressor Putin with an oil embargo. And thereby gaining understanding from the partners that a quick gas embargo could cause incalculable damage to the German economy.
One might object that the chancellor cannot do anything to counter some of the global economic dangers, such as Chinese lockdowns. But he can – and does so, by forging closer ties to the Asian economic powerhouse Japan. The task now is to secure exports through further trade pacts, for example with South America, and to become less dependent on China. The brakes in this case are not the FDP, but the Greens.