Prices: Scholz on heating costs: “This is social explosives”

Gas, gasoline, groceries and other goods are becoming more and more expensive. What to do with inflation? Just before the coordinated action of Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the host suppressed expectations.

Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) wants to defuse the “social explosion” of rising prices in solidarity with social partners in Germany. However, shortly before the joint action began on Monday, Scholz rejected calls for further rapid help for the people of Germany.

Dialogue with trade unions, employers, scientists and the Bundesbank will not bring immediate results, Scholz said in an ARD summer interview in the Berlin Report.

He is very concerned about rising energy prices, Scholz said. “Because citizens have to deal with life, and if the heating bill suddenly rises by several hundred euros, that’s a sum many cannot cope with. They are social explosives. “

When asked about the DGB’s proposal for an energy price cap, Scholz said: “We’ll discuss all the questions.” Certainly no concrete measures will be agreed on Monday at the start of the agreed action. The process will be created. “Everyone in Germany will get involved again, the social partners, the state.”

The head of the DGB, Yasmin Fahimi, demanded a price guarantee for the basic electricity and gas requirements at “Bild am Sonntag”, which should be set for every adult and every child.

Call Steinmeier

Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier called for further relief. “We have not experienced this before, prices four times higher, not only at gas stations, but above all for gas needed to heat the house,” Steinmeier said in a summer interview with ZDF. “The same goes for industry.” Instruments that make life easier, especially for people on low incomes, will have to be considered.

The chancellor reacted cautiously to Steinmeier. Scholz referred to previous aid measures of € 30 billion. “Right now, all these measures are being implemented,” he said. “Now it will not work if we agree to the EUR 30 billion package (…) and then discuss another one again.”

The biggest challenge will come next year. “This year, almost everyone who did the calculations said that thanks to the many actions we took, we absorbed about 90 percent of the price increase among lower and middle income groups.”

Scholz dismisses reports of one-off payments

Scholz dismissed the reports as a “free invention”, according to which he wanted one-off payments from companies for tax- and duty-free workers, and instead wage cuts from unions. “Of course, we thought about how we can support the union activities, especially when prices go up next year,” he said. “But no one is suggesting that actual wage increases should not come.”

Scholz said the 9 euro ticket will expire. “It always focused on three months.”

The Greens want to ask the rich to pay

The Greens in the Bundestag demanded that the richest in society also be asked to contribute. “Joint action must send a signal that the situation is damned serious and we must act,” said parliamentary group leader Andreas Audretsch of the German Press Agency. “Everyone now has to ask themselves how they can contribute,” said Audretsch. “This is especially true for those who have a lot, for the richest.” On the other hand, people with low and middle incomes and pensions should be sure to survive the winter safely.

The economist calls for higher wages

The president of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), Marcel Fratzscher, told dpa: “Only higher wages and social benefits can compensate people with middle and low incomes in the long term.” In addition, the best way to deal with inflation is through tax credit and higher social security benefits for middle- and low-income people, said Fratzscher.

Like Fratzscher, Veronika Grimm was skeptical about one-off payments. If one can do without wage increases for one-off payments, they will have to be very high, the dpa said. “Of course, this could immediately increase demand and thus increase inflation again.”

SPD leader Saskia Esken told the press of the Funke media group: “One-off payments and temporary relief measures help in the short term, but are not a long-term solution.” The welfare state must adapt the benefits. Wages would have to “increase significantly and sustainably”, especially in the low-wage sector.

Heil’s climate money is to be discussed

Other possible instruments should also be on the table in the Concerted Action. This includes money for a social climate proposed by Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD), according to government circles. Heil wants climate money once a year for single people who earn less than € 4,000 gross a month and for married people who collectively earn less than € 8,000.

CDU calls for lower VAT

Meanwhile, the social wing of the CDU demanded: “VAT on basic food products, which have become up to 40 percent more expensive, must be temporarily lowered.” A bag of crisps shouldn’t be cheaper than carrot juice, the Funke media group papers cite an article from the CDA of the Workers’ Wing.

According to “wise man” Achim Truger, joint action can help prevent an impending recession in Germany. As for the content, “the unions are not making excessive wage demands so that there is no price-wage spiral,” he told Bayern’s media group.

On the other hand, Fratzscher said the wage and price spiral was a “false myth”. Both Truger and Fratzscher demanded more collective agreements from employers.

CDU economics expert Julia Klöckner criticized that the joint action falls under the “If I don’t know what to do, I’ll set up a working group” category. Instead, you should permanently lower, among others energy taxes and duties.


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