Berlin (dts news agency) – SPD chancellor candidate Olaf Scholz strictly rejects the introduction of an unconditional basic income. “That would be neoliberalism. And if you calculate fairly and correctly, that is also priceless,” said the Federal Finance Minister to the newspapers of the Funke media group (Friday editions).
He has always found the idea of an unconditional basic income to be wrong: “That would jeopardize many of the achievements of the welfare state, such as pension or unemployment insurance.” In a model project, the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin), the “Mein Grundeinkommen” association and numerous scientists want to pay 120 participants a monthly basic income of 1,200 euros from spring 2021 for three years. The project is financed through donations.
In purely mathematical terms, a basic income of EUR 1,000 for almost 83 million German citizens would cost almost EUR 1 trillion a year – according to the Federal Statistical Office, total government spending has been around EUR 1.5 trillion so far. Scholz, who was nominated as candidate for chancellor by the SPD leaders two weeks ago, announced that he would not sign a coalition agreement after the federal election that would lack a higher minimum wage. “Yes, the 12 euros have to be. I think it is imperative that we raise the lower wage limit.” In Germany there are many jobs “in which those who do heavy physical work are not paid fairly”. Adequate wages are important in order to prevent society from drifting apart.
At the end of June, the independent minimum wage commission stipulated that the statutory minimum wage would increase in four stages from currently 9.35 euros to 10.45 euros per hour by July 1, 2022. Scholz emphasized that he also wanted to campaign for better pay for so-called Corona heroines – mostly women who had achieved an enormous amount in retail, nursing and hospital wards during the pandemic. “The Corona heroines rightly expect not only warm words and a one-off grant, but also decent wages, secure jobs and additional colleagues, because many simply cannot keep up with their work.” This applies to care, retail, logistics and the meat industry. “That has to change, and I will tackle that as Federal Chancellor,” said Scholz.