Home » Citizens’ money: Back to “promoting and demanding” – Heil is finally showing more of the Schröder mentality

Citizens’ money: Back to “promoting and demanding” – Heil is finally showing more of the Schröder mentality

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Citizens’ money: Back to “promoting and demanding” – Heil is finally showing more of the Schröder mentality

Opinion citizen money

Back to “promoting and demanding” – finally heal with more Schröder mentality

Status: 12.01.2024 | Reading time: 2 minutes

A start has been made, writes WELT author Dorothea Siems (r.), but Labor Minister Heil still needs to change course further

Source: picture alliance/dpa/Christophe Gateau; Claudius Plow

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Labor Minister Heil (SPD) is threatening “total refusers” with the cancellation of citizens’ benefits. Pressure is also growing on refugees. But the minister’s plans are still being ignored within his own ranks. The time is ripe for the reform to be reversed.

In the past, the SPD has proven to be surprisingly adaptable in labor market policy. Initial signs suggest that another turnaround is imminent in 2024. Federal Labor Minister Hubertus Heil has recently taken a sharp tone when it comes to citizens’ money, after the SPD politician has previously stood for the generous expansion of state welfare. Is there déjà vu in Germany?

After the turn of the millennium, Social Democratic Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, of all people, cut the entitlements of the long-term unemployed with the Hartz reforms and introduced strict rules of reasonableness.

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The party later denied responsibility for the new culture of demanding and supporting – although the unprecedented employment boom would actually have been a reason to boast of its success.

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45.9 million employees

Instead, the SPD in the grand coalitions under Angela Merkel continued to roll back the agenda reforms and finally announced “the overcoming of Hartz IV” under the next SPD Chancellor Olaf Scholz. Shortly before Christmas, Labor Minister Heil celebrated the citizens’ benefit introduced a year ago as one of the biggest social reforms in decades.

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Recently the minister has set a different tone. There is now talk of “total refusers” for whom Heil wants to completely remove basic security for a limited period of time. The traffic light had just significantly weakened the possibility of sanctions.

Heil with backing – but not from the SPD

Heil also urged the job agencies to put more pressure on refugees, especially from Ukraine, to take up work. In other EU countries, the proportion of Ukrainian women who work is three times as high as in this country.

Heil’s course corrections are a start. The party is still reluctant to follow him. But the minister has the backing of the Chancellor – who once vehemently defended Schröder’s agenda policy as SPD general secretary. With citizens’ money, the balance between demands and support has become out of balance.

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A workers’ party in particular has to keep an eye on those who finance the whole thing with taxes and contributions. The crisis-hit employees have no understanding that the standard rate is increasing more than their wages. What is causing growing outrage is that, despite the many employable citizens’ benefit recipients, companies are unable to find staff even for simple tasks.

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However, the solidarity community only has a future if everyone who is able to do so contributes their part – if necessary in the form of charitable work. To achieve this, Heil has to make significant changes.

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