The Forum in the media – green investments, debt brake and income inequality

The 2021 federal election is approaching - and with it the question what the future of the German model may look like. The VIII New Paradigm Workshop provided food for thought and an outline of possible answers, which SZ, Spiegel and co picked up on. An overview.




4. JUNE 2021



What really should matter for the election campaign

The debate surrounding the Bundestag election campaign is still failing to embrace the really important topics, argues the Spiegel.The contributions at the VIII New Paradigm show which essential questions we should rather ask ourselves.

The Bundestag election campaign should be about more than short-haul flights and gender stars, writes Thomas Fricke. Corona debts, climate change and the increasing gap between winners and losers of globalization – the coming government must face up to major questions regarding the future. Among other things, it will have to take effective action against the widening gap between rich and poor in Germany, or the loss of control felt by many people. And then there is the climate crisis. Above all, the major question remains how future investments of the necessary magnitude shall be financed – especially in light of the German debt brake, which often seems untouchable.

Germany needs an investment offensive

The fact that Germany is suffering from an acute investment backlog is not something that has only been known since yesterday. However, the Corona pandemic renders the investment failures of recent years particularly visible, argue Cerstin Gammelin and Alexander Hagelüken in the SZ. They draw on studies commissioned by the Forum, which call for a more active role for the state – including higher government spending. In her study on the debt brake, Philippa Sigl-Glöckner of the “Dezernat Zukunft” therefore argues for reforming the government’s spending policy, away from a minimal debt ratio and toward a state policy that advocates for less unemployment, better wages and a reduction in involuntary part-time work. Her proposal to fundamentally reform the current fiscal rules was also picked up by The Pioneer.

More so, what becomes clearer and clearer is that the call for more investment does not suffice. Rather, it is crucial to distribute existing capital more fairly, write Gammelin and Hagelüken, citing a study commissioned by the Forum and conducted by Stefan Bach and Markus Grabka of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW). The study finds that the gap between rich and poor in Germany keeps growing. To change this, the researchers propose strengthening collective agreements and a tax reform: “Companies are largely inherited tax-free. Instead of major exemptions, there should be a minimum tax of 15 percent.”

Toward greener paths

The urgent need for investment, especially in a far-reaching climate strategy, is also taken up by André Kühnlenz in Finanz&Wirtschaft, where he refers to two climate studies initiated by the Forum. Patrick Graichen of the Berlin-based think tank Agora Energiewende concludes that an increase in gross domestic product of 1.3% per year could save around 30 million tons of CO2 by 2045. The prerequisite: strong investment of up to 75 billion euros per year. Based on this, Mannheim economist Tom Krebs is calling for another 100 billion euros of investment in the development of a green hydrogen network. To this end, the federal government should establish a public hydrogen company. The strategically special thing about the proposal: since providing equity is considered a financial transaction, it would not reduce the government’s financial leeway under the debt brake.

The media resume: Politicians have a lot to think about in the election year 2021. The thought-provoking ideas, inspired by the numerous studies and contributions at the VIII New Paradigm Workshop, and seen in the media, can be found here.



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