Chancellor Merkel did an interview with the national newspaper BILD yesterday.
It was a short piece and the key point in it? She noted that with all the refugees that came in over the past three years....."We did not reduce benefits for anyone in Germany as a result of the aid for refugees. In fact, we actually saw social improvements in some areas. We took nothing away from people here. We are still achieving our big goal of maintaining and improving the quality of life in Germany."
It's fairly true....up to a point.
No one in Germany has seen their benefit packages retreat or lessen. Now, if you ask the other question....did you have to carve or cut in infrastructure or road projects, or spread out programs to have enough money cover refugee cost.....well....the answer is yes.
There are a hundred-odd ways that refugee/immigrant/migrant cost get divided up within the national, state, and local budgets. So it's just about impossible to get any German political figure to stand there and give an honest answer about what the costs are and how they found the budget money to fund them.
If you go to a job-center and find 400 migrants who have their visas now.....but their skill sets are zero, then there has to be a training episode required. You test the guy, and look at the local training programs.....then you assign him to such-and-such program....which might take eighteen to thirty-six months to complete.
One of the sensitive topics that you can view is the discussion over the Solidarity Tax.....which is supposed to end in 2019. Originally devised as a vehicle to renovate DDR coming into Germany and giving a massive construction fund for the eastern part of Germany.....it was not stamped as a permanent tax. Right now....just about every single party in the Bundestag wants the Solidarity Tax to remain on the books or be invented into something else.....mostly because they believe they really need the money. The bulk of the Solidarity Tax....comes from the middle and upper-class of Germany. They'd like for the tax to end and the money to stay in their pocket.
Some political figures believe that the only way that the immigration chaos stays controlled.....is by using funds by the Solidarity Tax to cover costs.
Does the public buy the Chancellor's comments? I would imagine that more than fifty-percent of the country question how the Chancellor saw the issue. The fact that money is being spent by the federal government....means that it's coming out of some pot of revenue and won't be used for normal expenditures.
Does this all lead to election topics and hurt the CDU? Yes. After today, there are four state elections left in Germany until the Oct/Nov national election in 2017. Each of these state elections is affected by the marginal program run by the Chancellor and her coalition government. The general public probably isn't as naive as the group of politicians sitting in the Bundestag.