Always trouble at traffic lights

AEven after the most beautiful honeymoon, disillusionment sets in when the worries of everyday life take over. The dispute often begins with the financial and then moves to the fundamentals. One should not overdo it in politics with analogies to the hardships of married life, but what is now emerging in the traffic light government after six months of partnership is strongly reminiscent of the dynamics of a domestic community. This can certainly be understood as an important development phase: each coalition partner is looking for its place. The fact that this partnership is a trio does not necessarily have to be a bad thing – as long as one is not permanently left out.

The dominant figure in the family quarrel is not the chancellor, but his unofficial deputy vice president Christian Lindner. Whether debt brake, nuclear power or the end of the combustion engine – the aggressive FDP leader is currently in charge of all major economic policy issues. Sometimes he does that as Federal Minister of Finance (debt brake), sometimes as party leader, who is the only one with government responsibility at the same time (nuclear power) and sometimes simply because he can (combustion engine). In moments of high spirits, the goal of a one-man government seems within reach, for example when he comments on the EU plans for the end of the combustion engine in 2035: “I have therefore decided that I in the federal government, that we in the federal government, do not agree to this European legislation be.” That sounds better than abstention.

Reluctance to Corona, conflicts about financial policy

If you miss the corona policy in this list, you have to put off until July. Until the end of the month, the coalition decided to exercise restraint in order to wait for the agreed evaluation of the corona measures. At least those involved in the government are adhering to it in an amazingly disciplined manner, Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) and Federal Justice Minister Marco Buschmann (FDP) never tire of praising their positive relationship with each other. The disruptive fire on this issue is currently still coming from outside, from the federal states and the party colleagues in the Bundestag.

The dissonances in fiscal policy are much greater. This is not surprising, since there have been conflicting views from the very beginning. In the coalition negotiations, the SPD, Greens and FDP defused this conflict by giving everyone something: the SPD said no to pension cuts and a higher retirement age, the Greens pressured the energy and climate fund with credit authorizations that were not needed, the FDP waived tax increases and the commitment to comply with the debt rule from the Basic Law again from 2023 onwards.

But this peace did not last long. The first minor conflicts soon became apparent with the degressive depreciation and the tank discount. Lindner had taken the partners by surprise in order to enforce relief in his interest – which annoyed the partners. There was talk of a “foul game” behind closed doors. The Greens retaliated with the 9-euro ticket, which at least also distributes the billions in other directions. With Volker Wissing, an FDP minister of all people is now reaping the rewards, and he records the run on the ticket machines as his success.

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