What is a personal financial acorn

"Acorn only shadow of itself"

Oswald Metzger: That would come close to squaring the circle, so of course they don't go together. This is pure euphemism that Eichel cultivates. For me, Hans Eichel - whom I supported for a long time in his course during my active time - has lost any format for solid financial policy because he was worn down by the social politicians in both government camps and is now the apologist for a policy he never wanted. He always spoke of the sweet poison of debt, always wanted to make financial policy appropriate to the generations, discredited the national debt as a social democrat in the good years 1999 and 2000 and is now following the old recipe, no matter who rules.

Spengler: Should he have offered his resignation a year or two ago or at least threatened it?

Butcher: In the coalition negotiations in 2002, Eichel had the last chance to maintain personal style. Back then, when the paradigm shift in financial policy to a policy of easy money was emerging, he could have taken his hat. At that time, Schröder could not have let him go, because without Eichel the SPD would not have had a good 8,000 votes ahead of the Union in the last federal election, but would no longer have the Chancellor today. At that time, Eichel still had power. Today he is a shadow of himself. You can also see it in the press this week, he has lost all credibility.

Spengler: History seems to repeat itself. Theo Waigel accused Rotgrün and above all Oskar Lafontaine of blocking his austerity efforts. Now Hans Eichel is doing it with the Union and the FDP. Can he make it that easy for himself?

Butcher: Of course, he can't make it that easy for himself. If you just look at the budget of the current year, just his budget figures, with excessive approaches from the tax amnesty law, with excessive approaches from the Bundesbank profit, with accounting tricks that we knew earlier from Theo Waigel's opposition period, he has saved himself this year . Of course, the Union also makes obstruction in the Federal Council. That's not a question, I don't want to talk nicely. But overall - and this goes to the Federal Government, of course - we must uphold the principles of financial policy. You can't seriously sell people, we're saving ourselves dead in Germany when I know at the same time that we have record debts at the federal, state and local levels, almost 90 billion euros last year. We live beyond our means, no matter who rules where. The people in politics do not have the courage to tell the population that debts cannot be used to consume a country healthily in the long term, but that debts always - this has always been the case and this is especially true for the future - means tomorrow's tax increases , Restrictions on room for maneuver in households, because the interest shares take up ever higher shares in the budgets of the federal, state and local governments.

Spengler: What Hans Eichel understands by cyclical consolidation is basically going into debt?

Butcher: That's exactly the point, that's going into debt, that's tricking, that's privatization. He will endeavor to present a budget on paper for 2005 that is constitutional - that is, it takes on fewer new debts than investments are budgeted for. But he can only do that through privatization. In the context of the EU Stability Pact, privatizations do not reduce deficits, which is correct, because one-off revenues do not cover structural deficits. So he will break the European stability pact again. This is also a sign on the wall that Germany of all people, which for reasons of solidity has put the Stability Pact on the eyes of other states, is sinning for the fourth time in a row. This means that this pact is dead.

Spengler: If you were Federal Minister of Finance: You would save, but where?

Butcher: A mixture of structural reforms and consolidation belongs together, that means first and foremost: We need a signal on the tax front to get off the ground. I would do a tax reform in the direction of Kirchhoff.

Spengler: The finance ministers of the federal states said that this is a redistribution from the poor to the rich, from the bottom up, so to speak.

Butcher: I think that's a big self-lie of the finance ministers. The finance ministers are afraid of any tax reform, because in 2000, the last one produced high losses. I don't see the redistribution from bottom to top, because in the future investment income and other types of income would also be taxed without gaps, as would the labor factor and through the broadening of the tax base and the investment incentive that such a tax reform would create in a favorable global economic environment, In which we are currently and in the next year, that would be the initial spark that would be needed, combined with further structural reforms in pensions, health and care. We have to orient the sustainable financing of our social systems away from the work factor.

Spengler: What does that mean for the area of ​​health?

Butcher: For the health sector, that means very clearly - I also say that as a green politician: decoupling from contribution-related issues. The surety insurance siren chants currently being sung in the political left are Kappes. You can forget about them. The only sensible thing is a health premium model, where people only actuarially pay a certain premium for the services and social compensation takes place through the tax system and not through the contribution system.

Spengler: This is the Union model: the flat rate per capita.

Butcher: This is the Union's health premium model, just like Switzerland has. This is the only model that prevents further money from being pumped into the system via the labor factor in the future. Health will continue to be an area where spending is growing in an aging society. You have to prevent the growing expenditure on health from making work even more expensive. Otherwise we will continue to promote unemployment in Germany.

Spengler: You spoke of tax reform and structural reform. What about the subsidy cut?

Butcher: Reducing subsidies is a must for me. I don't even mention that anymore. If you knock out exceptional circumstances in tax law, then you also have the political power to cut subsidies and direct financial aid from public budgets. This could be used to support the start-up financing of this tax reform in parallel. The economy would have to go along with this, because after all, the economy also supports Kirchhoff's tax model. The important thing is that we can only consolidate budgets in the country with a sensible economic and social policy. If we do not do it, we will perish from the burden of interest and the burdens of our country's pensions.

I would like to introduce one last number in the conversation to make it clear where we really stand in our country. You have to think about it, in 2004 more than 60 percent of all tax revenues at the federal level will go into past-related burdens, into burdens for old-age provision. 62 percent are needed for social benefits and of the 62 percent of tax revenue alone 40 percent for pension insurance. Everything that has been consolidated in public budgets in the last six, seven, eight years - on the task brake - was more than overcompensated by the higher subsidies that became necessary for the pension insurance. Either we as politicians say clearly to our pensioners and future elderly people: We can no longer afford this type of pension financing in an aging society or we will die at this level of pension insurance because we can no longer afford it. We will die from interest expenses as well.