Monday, February 20, 2017

SPD: Agenda 2020

A big speech got delivered by Germany's Martin Schulz (vice-chancellor, and SPD's candidate for the fall election against Merkel).

He listed out his big seven points for the public to get energized about.

1.  He wants to establish a stable pension level for all Germans so that no one slips off into poverty upon retirement.

The problem with this?  Basically, the government would have to raise taxes and artificially dip into the pot to retrieve enough money cover some imaginary level of adequate pension.

Presently, you could be a low-wage earner and wake up at age 66....getting 600 Euro a month....which isn't really enough to live off.  So you prepare your paperwork, and show the social office of the inadequate nature...and they pay you currently out of the welfare pot.  So, it'd be the same money but just out of one single pot instead of the present two-pot system?  More or less.  But they haven't really said what this imaginary level of adequate pension would be, and a lot of people would argue pensions in urban areas like Berlin need to be fairly high, while in rural areas....much lower.

2.  Stable pension level.  He wants a particular level of pension....currently, it's set at 46-percent of your pay.  It sounds like he wants it raised but I doubt that there money exists unless you raise taxes.

3.  A change to the contract system.....with no limitations.  He indicates that some type of future view would involve your contract having to do with education, family, the home, honorary offices and possibly the care of relatives. Companies probably don't want him messing with the contracts of present, and it could entice some companies to relocate outside of Germany.  Course, politicians never come through with half their promises anyway.

4.  More protection for the unemployed.  It was an odd quote: "People must be treated with decency and respect. People who have paid their contributions for many years need our support if they get into trouble. Everyone must have the opportunity to do their own job in the job center. "

He says some stuff about better training opportunities....which is usually a catch-phrase for these private companies who specialize in some computer classes.  Most Germans laugh about these classes and take them to be more of a joke.

5.  Change Temporary part-time status.  This was a mystery comment (at least for me).  He hints that women need to reshape their career, and that part-time work is a key-part of this.  It's generally a company decision on how many part-time slots they create, and it's hard to imagine the government forcing more part-time slots to exist, without some hostility about it.

6.  Free education.  Schulz says that everything....from daycare to university....ought to be free.  To be honest....some cities do offer subsidized daycare already.  But in this case....he wants it to be totally free....meaning a massive amount of taxation and government running the whole thing.  The university thing?'s mostly free (with a few fees currently).  Sounds nice on paper, but taxes would have to be part of this deal.

7.  More protection of unions.  Frankly, unions kinda left the SPD movement in the last decade and aren't that hyped up over the party.  Maybe he's trying to get them back with some kind words and law changes.

My view?  Most of the seven involve more government taxation, and have limited pay-back.  If you were a family and in the might like some of the talk.  If you were worried about your company folding up and moving outside of Germany.....his talk might make you even more worried.

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