Much criticism of Corona policy: Economists are giving up their allegiance to the government

A lot of criticism of corona policy
Economists deny allegiance to government

From Max Borowski

At the beginning of the Corona crisis, the federal government received a lot of praise from economics. It's over. For many economists, the slow vaccination campaign in particular is a failure with an announcement.

In rare unity across all of their ideological camps, the majority of economists praised the German Corona policy at the beginning. There is hardly anything left of this approval. According to the current economists' panel of the Ifo Institute and the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung", 47 percent of the professors surveyed are now "somewhat dissatisfied" or "very dissatisfied" with the corona economic policy. 30 percent answered with "partly-partly" and 20 percent with satisfied. "Very satisfied" are only two percent.

The billion dollar aid measures and the economic stimulus package in spring and summer 2020 were welcomed by the experts in the economists' panel with approval ratings of up to 80 percent. For the most part, the government's policies followed the suggestions of the scientists who, for example, the Ministry of Finance asked for their advice in regular video conferences. But now the opinions of economists differ widely, for example on the question of the scope of further corona aid. Politicians no longer act on economic advice on many issues. According to the Ifo survey, there are many reasons for the current dissatisfaction: Politicians are too slow and react inflexibly, no opening perspectives are being developed. In addition, the help for companies is too bureaucratic.

The vaccination strategy recently caused a particularly big disappointment. For months now, economists have been complaining that the German government and the EU Commission set wrong priorities here from the start. If the EU had ordered more vaccine earlier and spent more on it, the manufacturers and their suppliers would have been able to build up larger production capacities more quickly. The savings from overcoming the crisis earlier, as will probably be the case in Great Britain, Israel but also the USA, are far greater than the additional costs.

Previous deliveries are worth hundreds of euros

The head of the Ifo Institute Clemens Fuest and the British economist Daniel Gros have calculated that a vaccine delivered three months earlier could save society hundreds of euros in pandemic costs per dose. That is why economists have now called in numerous appeals to offer manufacturers high premiums incentives for faster deliveries. 45 percent of those surveyed in the economists' panel saw the premium proposal as "very positive" and 21 percent as "rather positive". 16 percent called it "neutral", 9 percent answered "rather negative" and 5 percent "very negative". The proponents justified their opinion, among other things, by saying that the social costs of the pandemic eclipsed everything else and that the price mark-ups were low in comparison. As a further measure, many panel participants are in favor of expanding the corona tests.

A loosening of the current lockdown, as many representatives of the affected industries are currently vehemently calling for, are viewed critically by the economists. Economists were divided on the question of whether an immediate and complete removal of the lockdown would reduce the number of bankruptcies. "No" answered 43 percent, "yes" 35 percent, "don't know" 22 percent. Respondents with "no" responses specifically pointed out that opening up immediately would trigger a third wave of the disease, with a correspondingly negative economic impact.