One year in power: What has the German government done for a just country for all?

Germany, 14 March 2019

 

One year since the election of Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel, the German alliance "Redistribute wealth - A just country for all" (national ally of the global Fight Inequality Alliance) issues an end of year report to the government. Blog by Lara Masur.

The German civil society alliance "Redistribute wealth - a just country for all", a platform of 33 organisations, supported by another 20 other organisations, symbolically issued an end of the year report on its work to the so-called Grand Coalition – a government of the social democratic SPD and the Christ democratic parties CDU and CSU. The day of action marked the first anniversary of the day on which Angela Merkel was re-elected as Chancellor, on 14 March 2018.

The alliance asked: What has the coalition done to alleviate the devastating state of affairs in the care sector and the housing shortage in the cities, to improve pensions and the situation of the unemployed, to improve the situation of families and children, to equip education sensibly, to promote integration and to counteract climate change? Has the coalition set the course for tax justice in Germany and globally? Representatives from our members Attac, Arbeiterwohlfahrt and Zukunftsforum Familie, DIDF, GEW, trade union unemployment groups, tenants' association, NaturFreunde, Oxfam, ver.di and Volkssolidarität spoke on these questions and presented their assessments for the various policy areas.

Measured against the alliance's demands, the report is not good for the federal government. Although the coalition agreement did include a number of initiatives, in many central areas nothing has happened, or not enough has happened for a long time. A summary of the individual points can be found here.

All in all, society is not in equilibrium, the Alliance concludes. The poorer half of the population in Germany owns only 2.3% of the assets. The richest percentage, on the other hand, owns 33% of the assets, according to DIW researchers. This imbalance was represented by a large scale, which the alliance set up in front of the chancellery.

Crowd of people

The participants* in the campaign called for a change of course towards a policy that focuses on the interests of the many and not on the promotion of companies and wealthy people. With La Ola waves and chanting (see below) the demands of the alliance were loudly presented.

"One, two, three, four:
We want to redistribute!
Five, six, seven, eight:
The wealth tax is being made!
Nine and ten:
the resistance will continue!"


(Well, this rhymes in German!)

Crowd of people

The demands of the alliance towards government are:

  • better social security and stronger rights for employees, the small self-employed, the unemployed, pensioners, children and families, people with disabilities and those seeking protection;
  • more public investment and more staff, for infrastructure, children's institutions, schools and universities, health care and nursing, culture, youth and sport, social and labour market integration;
  • ecologically sustainable and affordable energy supply and socially compatible ecological reconstruction;
  • Provision and construction of sufficiently affordable housing;
  • Need-covering financial resources, especially for heavily burdened and indebted cities and municipalities.

These demands could be financed with more tax justice. The large majority of the population will not be burdened but will benefit. That is why the Alliance continues to demand from the Federal Government:

  • Financially strong companies and the rich must again make higher contributions to financing the public goods; very high incomes must be taxed more heavily; capital gains must not be privileged;
  • Tax evasion must be combated and tax loopholes eliminated, in Germany, the EU and worldwide;
  • a wealth tax and a reformed inheritance tax must adequately involve millionaires and billionaires in financing public goods and reduce social inequality.

So there is still much for the Federal Government to do to create a fair country for all! The members of the alliance will continue to advocate such political change for social justice.

Further information on the alliance, the common demands and the organizations united can be found here and here.