Scholz sees Germany financially armed | Free press


Berlin (dpa) – Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) sees Germany financially armed for the further fight against the Corona crisis.

“We are providing the necessary resources to deal with the economic and financial consequences of the pandemic,” said Scholz, presenting the benchmarks for the federal budget in 2022. New billion-dollar debt is planned. There should be one more exception to the debt brake enshrined in the Basic Law.

The aid policy will be resolutely continued, says Scholz. The federal government had decided on multi-billion dollar aid programs to cushion the impact of the pandemic on jobs and businesses. The minister made it clear that Germany is well positioned financially to do what is necessary – also in an international comparison. Both the borrowing and the debt ratio are lower than expected. The debt ratio will be lower than after the financial crisis more than ten years ago.

Without stabilizing measures from the federal government, the economic slump would have been much greater. “We acted quickly, forcefully and decisively,” said Scholz. “That’s the boom.” In doing so, he echoed a saying from last summer, when the Black-Red coalition agreed on a multi-billion dollar economic stimulus package.

Following a corona-related collapse in economic output in 2020, the economic recovery may be delayed this year. The reason is the ongoing corona crisis. The federal government recently announced additional support for companies particularly hard hit by long-term closures. However, the details are not fixed.

In the budget key figures, Scholz plans a new debt of approximately 81.5 billion euros for 2022. In the current year, approximately 60.4 billion euros more debt will be contracted than initially planned. An additional budget is provided for this. In view of the ongoing closures in the hotel and catering industry, for example, additional funds for extensive business support of 25.5 billion euros and thus a total of 65 billion euros are planned. In addition, there are billions in additional expenditure for the purchase of vaccines.

The background to the supplementary budget is also billions in tax revenue shortages. The new debt for 2021 rises to a record value of 240.2 billion euros.

A total budget of 419.8 billion euros is planned for 2022 – less than in the current year, because the Ministry of Finance expects that corona aid will no longer be so expensive. This includes investments of EUR 50 billion.

The draft budget, which is now drawn up from the key figures, will be adopted by the current coalition in the summer. However, it will then be finally decided by the Bundestag elected in the fall.

For the time after the federal elections, there are indications that the budget situation will be difficult. If the debt brake is again observed, only small debts of about 8 to 11.5 billion are allowed. This will only succeed if, on the one hand, the piggy bank is dissolved in the budget, a reserve with which 48.2 billion has been saved. On the other hand, the Ministry of Finance calls it a “need for action”, which is in fact a budget deficit of about 20 billion euros.

Scholz hopes for economic growth and thus higher tax revenues. Another option would be to levy taxes on the wealthy after the election. The SPD Chancellor candidate Scholz once again spoke out for a “fair and equitable tax system”. The SPD requires people of very high wealth to pay wealth tax.

Financing social expenditure could become a major problem in the medium term. To keep social contributions below 40 percent, as promised by the coalition, additional billions are needed.

The Board of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurers, representing the interests of the statutory health and long-term care insurance funds, stated with surprise and deep concern that the government had not planned additional budgetary resources in its 2022 benchmarks to stabilize health insurance premium rates. and long-term health insurance. This ignores the fact that only the statutory health insurance will have an additional financial need of about 16 to 19 billion euros in the coming year.