Labor Minister rejects unconditional basic income

Photo: Euro coins (via dts news agency)
Photo: Euro coins (via dts news agency)

Berlin (dts news agency) – Federal Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) rejects the idea of ​​an unconditional basic income instead of the existing system of social benefits. “I don’t believe in an unconditional basic income,” said Heil of the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” (Monday edition). “This term is above all a large projection screen: Is it about a flat rate of all social benefits at the lowest level or about a promise of ‘2000 euros for everyone’.”
That is neither practical nor sensible. “I am a supporter of decent basic social security,” said the minister. “At the same time, work has to make a difference – for wages and income as well as for social security.”

In addition, for most people work is not just a livelihood, but also participation in society. “I concentrate on securing jobs, I do not share the thesis of the end of work,” he said. Against the same background, Heil distanced itself from demands for a four-day week for all employees.

“A four-day week can be sensible in individual cases to overcome a structural or sales crisis,” said Heil. The decision on this lies with the social and business partners in the individual companies. “But it is not a panacea for the whole economy.” “The question behind it is: Are we running out of work?”, So Heil “If you believe that, I tell you: This is a fairy tale.”

The German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) and the interest group “My Basic Income” had started a research project on the unconditional basic income last week. At the same time, statements by IG Metall chairman Jörg Hofmann and from the Left Party sparked a debate about the four-day week.