The Grand coalition celebrates itself. The basic pension model, which was agreed on Sunday by the party leaders of CDU, CSU and SPD, is supposed to “make an important contribution in the fight against old age poverty” according to CDU chief Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer. It was “socially and just”, added minister of Finance and vice-chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD).
What do you mean? The measure is in fact far from a real basic pension that would deserve your name. The GroKo follows the principle of “wash my fur, but do not wet me”, in other words: the highly praised social project must not cost anything.
As the SPD Commissioner Malu Dreyer predicted, up to 1.5 million people could benefit from the new “basic pension” from 1 January 2021. For this, the government calculates additional costs of one to 1.5 billion euros from tax funds. According to Adam giant, that would be about a thousand euros per Person a year. This is just a Plus of around 80 Euro per month.
While the alleged “project of the century” of the basic pension may cost 1.5 billion euros from tax funds, the government wants to massively increase the expenditure for the German armed forces and upgrading, only to 50 billion and in the near future even to horrendous 73 billion euros, namely two percent of the gross domestic product. The relationship is also evident from the fact that, at the same time as the basic pension, a further economic-friendly measure was adopted: the government wants to provide 10 billion euros for entrepreneurs who invest in “future technology” in the field of digitisation and air-conditioning technology.
Who will benefit from the basic pension from 1 January 2021?
The condition for this is that you have at least 35 (thirty-five!) Years worked in a job requiring insurance and paid into the pension fund. In an ominous way, minister of Labour Heil’s concept is oriented towards “life performance” and not to the needy nature of the recipients.
This excludes from the outset those who have worked at the mini-job level throughout their working life and have therefore paid too little or no contributions. Even those who are poor at age but have less than 35 years of contributions cannot benefit from the basic pension.
“Up to 1.5 million people” who, according to Malu Dreyer, could benefit from the basic pension, are only a fraction of the actually poor seniors, the number of whom is at least three to four million people. In Germany, after the unemployed and single parents, pensioners are officially the third large group affected by poverty.
It is the result of a decades-long austerity policy of all governments on the back of the working class. Pension levels have been falling continuously since the end of the 1970s, a process that has accelerated rapidly since the Red-Green coalition under Gerhard Schröder and Joschka Fischer (1999-2005). With its Agenda policy of liberalization, privatization and Bertelsmann laws, this government had at that time opened the locks for low-wage work and unsecured, precarious employment. This has contributed significantly to the destruction of pension levels.
As a result, the pension in Germany today officially amounts to only half of the net income (50.5%), which is far below the OECD average of 70.6%. The “Deutsche Rentenversicherung Bund” (DRV-Bund), is even lower: according to her, the pensioners still have to 45.0% of their previous earnings for life.
In absolute terms, almost 35 percent of all men in West Germany receive 900 euros or less in monthly pension, according to the DRV Association. For women, it is almost 77 percent, i.e. more than three quarters of all retired women, who have to fight their retirement at 900 euros or less.
While governments have abolished the wealth tax and have constantly reduced the taxes of the super-rich, they are increasingly taxing pensioners. Through all these measures, the Federal Republic of Germany is now regarded as one of the most unequal countries in the world, which has a particular impact on old-age poverty.
And the Trend continues: due to recent reforms, the level of statutory pension insurance benefits will fall by around 20 percent by 2030. At this scandalous inequality the current basic pension project of the grand coalition will not change anything.
In fact, the GroKo pursues completely different goals with this project.
It is intended to save her survival and enable her to achieve the goals she really cares about. This includes, first and foremost, the return to a large-scale power policy, which will go hand in hand with military operations by the Bundeswehr, as the German Bundestag president Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU) and Minister of Defence Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer formulated in programmatic speeches.
Two days after the agreement on the basic pension was reached, public processions of recruits took place before the Berlin Reichstag and in six other cities, which the Bundeswehr “anchor in the middle of society”, i.e. the society is to get used to the omnipresence of soldiers.
The federal government is rapidly moving to the right. In doing so, it responds to the growing Opposition to its anti-social and militaristic policies. The two governing parties, the CDU/CSU and the SPD, have barely reached forty percent of the vote in the last survey. The grand coalition has largely adopted the policy of the AfD in the refugee policy and in the internal rearmament and is preparing for the upcoming parties of the CDU and SPD a further legal pressure.
Right-wing CDU politicians, business associations as well as representatives of FDP and AfD zeter and Mordio cry out about the latest basic pension model because it does not provide for a strict means test. The income is examined, so that a well-earning spouse is not entitled to a basic pension, but not the property, such as a self-used apartment.
The federal president of the young Union, Tilman Kuban, summoned the basic pension on 7 November in the Maybrit-Illner-Show as “confetti parade”. The FDP member Johannes Vogel complained: “they want to spend the money with the watering can!“ Carsten Linnemann, the President of the SME Union of the CDU, insisted on a full means test. Otherwise, he warned, threatening “a Dambreak for other transfer services”.
These representatives of the rich, who at a good meal like to spend 80 euros for a bottle of wine, insist that each pensioner goes the humiliating way to the social welfare office and undresses financially naked to get the same amount as an additional monthly pension. Their large-scale power policy can only be financed through ever-new austerity measures for workers and the elderly. That is why they promote AfD and rely on authoritarian forms of governance.