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Debate about tax relief: Verdi boss calls Lindner’s plans “grossly unfair”

Debate on tax cuts
Verdi boss calls Lindner’s plans “grossly unfair”

Finance Minister Lindner plans tax relief for 48 million people. Economists and trade unionists criticize that there are also higher earners who do not necessarily need it. While voices from Günen and SPD warn of a social imbalance, the Union thinks the project is right.

The criticism of the tax relief plans by Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner does not stop. Rejection comes from the Verdi union, among others. Its chairman, Frank Werneke, complained that those who have high incomes and are affected by the top tax rate would benefit first and foremost. “Those who work hard every day but have a low income and are currently suffering the most from the price increase would hardly benefit – that’s blatantly unfair,” said Werneke of the “Rheinische Post”.

The union leader called for a comprehensive tax plan, in which changes in the income tax rate would be balanced with an increase in the top tax rate and an excess profit tax, which should be paid by companies that made disproportionate profits during the crisis. “Employees who do not receive high salaries and who are in real need in view of the price development will not benefit from tinkering with the tax rate. Instead, another relief package with direct payments is needed – targeted for people with low to medium household incomes,” said Werneke.

The Düsseldorf economist Jens Südekum found that it was “simply not the time right now” to relieve all income areas. “In view of the rising inflation, we need a redistribution from top to bottom, not the other way around,” he told the “Spiegel”. The economist Veronika Grimm had already made a similar statement. She criticized that a reform in which the higher earners nominally gain more comes at the wrong time.

Scholz speaks of a “good serve”

FDP leader Lindner presented his plans on Wednesday. 48 million citizens should benefit from 2023, it is about more than ten billion euros relief. In percentage terms, low earners are therefore relieved much more than top earners – but in absolute numbers it looks different. Politicians from the coalition partners Greens and SPD see a social imbalance. Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz has already signaled a compromise and described Lindner’s plans as a “good premium” and part of an overall package with further relief.

FDP parliamentary group leader Christian Dürr defended his party leader’s plans and called for their support. It is an “important step for more tax justice,” said Dürr. “The proposed measures are a real relief for the broad middle of our society, which keeps our state and our social security systems running day after day,” said Dürr. “My request to all critics is: to support Christian Lindner’s project.”

Union wishes Lindner more hearing

Apparently he doesn’t have to convince the Union. CDU General Secretary Mario told the “Bild” newspaper: “We also think that tax relief for the broad middle by mitigating the cold progression is fundamentally right. This will relieve small and medium-sized incomes in particular”. Czaja called on Chancellor Scholz to bring about a decision at the cabinet table. The parliamentary director of the CSU state group in the Bundestag, Stefan Müller, criticized: “Even minimal relief leads to an outcry in the traffic light. The traffic light is a left-wing government in which the FDP is going under,” said Müller of the “Bild”.

Above all, the exploding energy and sharply rising food prices are causing problems for many people. Chancellor Scholz does not therefore expect any social unrest, as he made clear on Thursday. Poverty researcher Christoph Butterwegge nonetheless warned in the “Rheinische Post”: “The energy and food prices, which are likely to continue to rise in the future, are likely to lead to social upheavals right down to the middle of society. Some middle-class families may also have to spend half their income on rent including heating. Therefore, poverty will continue to spread.”

Green party leader Ricarda Lang told the newspaper that to prevent a wave of poverty, short-term measures are needed to provide relief in autumn and winter to those most affected by rising prices. At the same time, however, Lang called for a “fundamental debate about justice, which we must also have in government.”

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