When you read the cornerstones of the new citizenship benefit presented by Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD), Heinrich Heine comes to mind: “A new song, a better song, / Oh my friends, I want to write poems for you! / We want to establish the kingdom of heaven here on earth. “
Imagine the following: in a landmark ruling, the Federal Labor Court generally prohibits the dismissal of employees and stipulates that a maximum of 30 percent of wages can be reduced in the event of any breach of duty. Incredibly? Certainly in labor law, but reality in basic security (Hartz IV). this South German newspaper summed up the idea of civic money: more money – less penalties.
Social fraud and undeclared work will increase
The new name has good intentions and sounds much friendlier than Hartz IV. It is doubtful whether the new semantics will catch on. However, the decisive question is: will the citizen’s income solve the problem of the long-term unemployed in the basic security system? Certainly not.
Obtaining benefits becomes easier, and the motivation to quickly and intensively look for a suitable job becomes weaker; this will result in greater benefit abuse and undeclared work. In many sectors of the German economy, there is a desperate search for workers at all skill levels, with only 1.6 million unemployed having only basic security, 900,000 jobs. long-term unemployed, including 300,000 with completed vocational training and almost 400 thousand. from 25 to 45 years old.
The new citizenship allowance will not bring about a better balance in the labor market, but will make the situation even worse. At best, the new approach will help ease the unclean conscience of some of the SPD. Even though Peer Steinbrück rightly said years ago: No one has to be ashamed of Hartz IV.
Another step towards a basic income
And the reform will be welcomed by the Greens as the next step towards a universal basic income. Perhaps its introduction would be a more consistent and honest step than masking the true intention with new hypocritical terms such as “time of trust”, “cooperation plan” and “sanctions moratorium”.
Experienced labor office employees will quickly predict a new philosophy: everyone is well and no one hurts, there is no more support and demands, there are only rights, not obligations.
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Achieving a goal solely by caring for others and solidarity results from a false image of humanity that corresponds neither to scientific knowledge nor to the experience of professional consultants. For many victims, taking up employment under the pressure of protective sanctions is the last chance to regain self-respect and social recognition through employment.
False incentives are joyfully exhorted
For me, the easy-to-drink phrase “beat Hart IV” does not mean receiving benefits under the new heading, but doing everything possible to find suitable employment as soon as possible. Only then is Hartz IV defeated. This is not what this reform means, it will extend the length of time people remain in basic social security, further consolidate the receipt of long-term benefits and widen the working society gap. The numerous erroneous stimuli of the system are not eliminated, but joyfully magnified.
The promise of participation in the social market economy has not been kept. The long-term unemployed will retain their place in the poverty statistics, a stain on our economic system. Being permanently unemployed is humiliating. Status panic, social exclusion and isolation, loss of productivity, and psychosocial illnesses are sufficiently documented as consequences.
Labor market policy must be put to the test
Including the long-term unemployed in employment has so far not achieved the desired success, despite the large number of regulatory instruments and specific programs. Long-term unemployment has stabilized at high levels in Europe and Germany. The favorable situation on the labor market does not lead to a significant reduction. Neither intensive counseling, nor promotion under the labor market policy instruments, nor comparison of profiles after extensive data collection and the resulting internship proposals bring the desired effect.
Politicians, the Federal Employment Agency, municipalities, employment offices, educational institutions and other stakeholders must critically ask themselves to what extent the methodological approaches, financing offers, training and competences of job placement specialists, organizational, legal and economic frameworks are responsible for this behavior of jobseekers or decisions to hire employers. Much has to be put to the test.
There remains “bread and circuses”
Innovative approaches and ideas would be needed here. If we fail to re-adjust the framework of action and further develop it scientifically based on practical experience, combined with a felt relief for employment offices, it will not be possible to open up permanent employment prospects for the long-term unemployed in the country. for the next few years.
Unfortunately, this topic is not a priority in the citizens ‘income inventors’ program. But quite the opposite. Anyone who follows the current discussion about meeting Germany’s labor needs can only draw one conclusion: politics and business have given up on this problem. They see only recruitment and immigration from abroad. A cynical message to the unemployed in the country for whom only “bread and circuses” remain.