Some formulations are entirely to Christian Lindner’s taste. “State community of responsibility” for example or “commandment of prudence”. On Friday, when he appeared as Federal Minister of Finance in the Bundestag, a new phrase was added: the “financial policy design mode”. He could still go far on the open scale of Lindner’s favorite terms.
The FDP leader believes that this form of organization must be adopted in this legislative period. Who makes it possible? He himself, of course. In his inaugural speech to the Treasury staff, he already said that he wanted his new building to be seen as an “enablement ministry.” The message: Even with the FDP, there is no scrimping where size is needed, just budgeting with particular sovereignty.
The latter is of course seen differently in the opposition, but more on that later.
First of all, Lindner uses his speech to present the “provisional financial statement” for the 2021 financial year. And lo and behold: Despite the supplementary budget, 24.8 billion euros less debt would have to be incurred than the previous government had planned. The reason is 9.2 billion euros more tax revenue and 15.6 billion less expenditure than expected. “This reduces net borrowing,” says Lindner proudly in the Bundestag. According to his ministry, this will total 215.4 billion euros.
In his speech, however, Lindner did not spell out the loan authorizations of 60 billion euros, which will be shifted to the energy and climate fund via the supplementary budget. He only says that the supplementary budget “only reserves unused opportunities from the previous year” and uses them for unusual investments and impulses after the pandemic.
The tax return should also be easier
To be on the safe side, however, the Budget Committee recently specified this use again. Among other things, it is now bindingly stipulated that these additional funds will be used to overcome the emergency situation caused by the pandemic “in the short and medium term” – namely for investments in energy efficiency and renewable energies in buildings, in CO₂-neutral mobility, in climate protection agreements, with those energy-intensive Industries should be helped in the infrastructure for a CO₂-neutral energy supply and in the abolition of the EEG surcharge. This precision is intended to make the traffic light budget more court-proof, but the Union faction has already announced a lawsuit. Some legal experts have also expressed criticism.
Lindner then praises the planned return to the debt brake in 2023 and that the billions for the climate fund on the one hand and the debt brake on the other hand are “acting in two ways” in a way that is fair to the generations. He counts his current to-do list – from the Corona tax law to the tax exemption for the care bonus – and ticks off each point with a hit on the speaker’s point. The tax return should also be easier, he entices, after all, people should rather deal “with the beautiful things in life”.
It is doubtful whether the opposition role for the CDU and CSU is one of the nice things in life. Union faction Vice Mathias Middelberg (CDU), however, at least uses the freedom to very successfully displace 16 years of Union leadership in the federal government. It’s not honest that Lindner wants to “stock up on debt,” says Middelberg in the Bundestag, although it’s impossible for him to have forgotten that the grand coalition recently did the same thing. The AfD budget politician Peter Boehringer, in turn, asked Lindner if that was really his own policy.
But Lindner has now had to defend the supplementary budget so often that he may actually have grown fond of it. Even if he found the similarly knitted Groko unconstitutional at the time.