Berlin (dpa) – In the latest deliberations on the federal budget, the grand coalition defended its debt plans for the coming year.
Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) said in the Bundestag on Tuesday that the federal government has a responsibility to protect the health of its citizens while leading the country out of the crisis economically and socially. “We have chosen this path and will continue to do so,” he announced. Andreas Jung, Vice-President of the Union’s Group, stressed that the planned high debts would not be taken lightly, but because human life, health and society were in danger. “Because it touches our country to the core.” However, the opposition criticized the wrong focus.
The budget of Minister Scholz of Finance for the coming year is formed by the Corona crisis. Businesses should be able to apply for around € 39.5 billion in subsidies. Hospitals, airports and railways are also supported. About 2.7 billion euros is earmarked for the purchase of corona vaccines. In total, Scholz plans to spend nearly half a trillion euros, more than a third of which will be financed with debt. The Bundestag must allow the federal government to take out loans of almost 180 billion euros.
The Union stressed that Germany would have to repay billions in the coming decades. At the same time, Scholz believes that strong economic growth in itself can improve the debt ratio. “We will grow out of this crisis,” he announced. But that will only be possible if investments are made in the right future fields, such as a CO2-neutral economy and technological and digital progress. In addition, people with a high wealth would have to pay a higher tax contribution.
While the FDP and AfD sharply criticized the amount of planned debt, the left and the Greens demanded that loans be taken out for future investment. They mainly criticized the center of gravity of the budget. While corporations like Lufthansa would be saved by billions, the government was feeding the unemployed with alms, said left-wing housekeeper Gesine Lötzsch. She demanded a property tax for the richest 0.7 percent of the population and the abolition of the “future killer” debt brake.
The Greens’ housekeeper, Sven-Christian Kindler, warned of “dangerous pressure to bail out after Corona” – if the federal government wanted to comply with the debt rule again under all circumstances. “You have to make sure that the red pen is not used after Corona,” he said, calling for longer repayment terms and more leeway for loan-funded investments through a reform of the debt brake.
In contrast, FDP Representative Christian Dürr described debt as a “sweet poison” that enticed the federal government to solve all problems with money. The promised business support would not even reach those affected because Minister of Economic Affairs Peter Altmaier (CDU) had not prepared the necessary software. With the right policies, the federal government could get by on half the debt for the next year – but Scholz should dare to say no and cut back.
The FDP also called for significantly lower debt. The federal government’s response to the crisis with the partial lockdown was completely exaggerated, housekeeper Peter Boehringer said. The effects will only really be felt next year, tens of thousands of bankruptcies are to be expected. “After us the flood” is clearly the motto of this budget of cabinet members Merkel and Scholz, “he criticized.
On Friday, the Bundestag will finally vote on the budget for the coming year. To that end, the budget plans of the individual ministries are on the agenda – Wednesday the Chancellery with the traditional general debate with Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU).