The excitement in political Berlin was great. Since a working group of the CDU had actually demanded a reduction of the minimum wage. A few weeks after the Chancellor himself also generously declared the workers in the supermarkets, who were often paid the minimum wage, to be systemically relevant, this move seems – let’s put it very benevolently – a little bold. As can hardly be expected otherwise, a few hours later the party leader whistled back: “hands off the minimum wage”. Does the party leadership not have its faction under control? The opposite is likely to be the case. With this move, the Union expanded the debate space. Now there is a whole round of neoliberal atrocities in the discussion and it should now be easier for the CDU and CSU to push through the already planned points such as above all the complete cancellation of the solidarity surcharge, from which only the top earners benefit anyway. The coalition partner SPD and the media make it very easy for them.
In dieser Zeit brauchen Unternehmen Spielraum und Liqudität zum Investieren. Darüber reden wir beim Konjunkturpaket. Aber für die CDU ist klar: Nicht auf dem Rücken der Arbeitnehmer. Deshalb: Hände weg vom Mindestlohn.— A. Kramp-Karrenbauer (@akk) May 26, 2020
Are circles of the CDU seriously planning a reduction in the minimum wage? This is not to be assumed. It is no secret that the CDU would rather abolish the minimum wage today than tomorrow, but since the union parties, as we know, do not have an absolute majority in the Bundestag, the approval of the SPD would be necessary for this and despite all the unprincipled nature of this party, it seems very unlikely. However, you can demand a lot. And this even makes sense if you can expand the debate space by means of maximum demands that cannot be fulfilled anyway and thus accommodate other demands more easily.
One can imagine this in about the same way as a small “coalition negotiation” in the family circle. The dear daughter internally wishes that her parents finance her riding lessons, but also knows that she will not get away with this wish. So what to do? Quite simply: she does not want riding lessons, but a horse; knowing that this” maximum demand " has no Chance anyway. However, it has expanded the debate room by this not seriously intended maximum demand and now the financing of the riding lessons with the parents could pass as a rational compromise. Most parents would certainly see through such a tactic. The SPD is not so clever and always stands like a rabbit in front of the queue when the CDU once again conjures this “daughter tactic” out of the hat.
As always, the CDU acted very cleverly. The maximum demand was packed together with other – also unacceptable-demands in a program paper, which was then scattered through dpa and Handelsblatt specifically in the media and could wait with relish for the reactions to this “Leak”. Now Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer took over and tweeted a Power Word … of course only to the maximum demand, but not to the other demands from the program paper.
The external effect should be pleasing for the CDU: party leader with heart whistles the neoliberal drummers in her party back. If the drummers had left the topic of minimum wage out of their paper, the other points would stand in the room as a maximum demand and be criticized. Separated-Marching, United-Beating.
The maximum demand for the reduction of the minimum wage should now be off the table. But what about the other demands of the economic liberal extremists in the CDU group? What about the requirement to set a maximum weekly working time of 48 hours? What about the” binding and long-term " capping of Social Security contributions to 40 percent? These points will now be hotly debated in coalition negotiations with the SPD, whereby it is foreseeable that the CDU will not be able to prevail here either. But did she even want that? It is more likely that the CDU and CSU, in addition to opening up the General Debate space for neoliberal positions, are primarily concerned with the last point in the list of demands: the immediate cancellation of the solidarity surcharge.
A battle between the union parties and the SPD has been raging here for some time. The latter had already been so far over the table that it agreed to a combination of reduction and deletion of the Solis for the majority of the employees on 1 January. Henceforth, the Soli would only be incurred for the top 10% of the income; that is, for a group that can be widely described as” top earners”. Its political Arm, as is well known, is, in addition to the CDU, above all the Bavarian Prime Minister Söder, who has declared it his goal to increase the solidarity surcharge from 1. The decision to completely abolish Söder on July 31 is a boon for the top earners at the expense of the rest of the population, who do not benefit from Söder’s Initiative at all. If it were “only” about this point, Söder would probably have prevailed against the SPD only with scrapes – it is not so easy to communicate a tax reform, from which demonstrably only the Top earners benefit. It is literally a steep proposal if you get the SPD on board and can sell this tax reform as a kind of pragmatic agreement, with which you could block together the already indiscutable demands from the ranks of the CDU in the points minimum wage, working hours and non-wage costs. Do you still need the SPD if you have the chancellor of hearts with Söder? Thus, the actual maximum demand becomes a perceived pragmatic compromise through the communication of other, even more far-reaching maximum demands.
Here, too, the Union marches separately and strikes together in the end. And the SPD is losing out in three ways:
Their own proposals do not come up for discussion at all, since they now appear as extreme positions by the expansion of the debate space and are only debated in the “field” of the union proposals.
The SPD can not even score points with the defense of the CDU maximum demands, since Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has already won the laurels for this.
In the end, the SPD will agree to a “compromise”, which it previously rejected.
So the CDU and CSU win on three levels. And once the deletion of the Solis is done, it goes to the other points of the program paper. Certainly, a new maximum demand can be found, which then makes these points work as a pragmatic compromise.
This really clever strategy can only work, of course, because the media play along with the game lammfromm. Dpa, SPIEGEL, Handelsblatt and co. playfully report critically about the allegedly “leaked” paper, one gets upset with dressed handbrake and then celebrates the party leaders for having restored order. More importantly, one is actively involved in the expansion of the debate room and suddenly no longer discusses the meaningfulness or futility of cancelling the Solis, but the pros and cons of the minimum wage. Things can’t get any better for the union parties. Then you no longer have to wonder about the surreal approval ratings for the CDU and CSU and their top staff. And the minimum wage? Let’s wait for the next elections. Once the union parties are in the realistic Position to abolish it, they will do it without a wink – Merkel speeches, Kramp-Karrenbauer Tweets.