The debate about relief and need: who is rich here?


Money in Germany is a complicated subject. If it does come up, the local “jealousy society” is pointed out and a “jealousy debate” is warned, and the choice is usually quickly resolved. In the current energy and inflation crisis In the face of drastic and continuous price increases, voices are now increasing Help for the overburdened support financially. But what should it be?

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To determine this, it would be good to agree on what is too little, what is too much, and who should have what. Are those burdened as mentioned recently by the president of the savings bank: who currently have no money left to save at the end of the month, or does this only apply if this is the case in the future?

Does this cause inflation to eat away at what they put aside, and if so, is there a minimum amount they are allowed to keep? Is it even harder for those who find they can no longer afford what they used to? Or should they better tailor their requirements to their situation?

In addition to the vague definition of the exempt group, the question is whether the rich should give more on the other side of the cash flow. Yes, of course!, is said quickly. But what exactly the rich are is also unclear.

Ask the chancellor: “Are you rich?”

A small scene at the federal government’s open house last weekend may be a signpost. A small boy sang into the visitor’s microphone, asking the federal chancellor: “Are you rich?” There was laughter and applause, and Olaf Scholz replied: “If you know how much most citizens earn: yes.

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In fact, his gross monthly salary of just over €30,000 is likely to be well above what “most citizens” earn over the same period. But at the same time, the question arises: are monthly payments enough to define “wealthy”?

Friedrich Merz caused a stir in 2018 because, despite his millionaire status, he clearly did not want to classify himself as a financial upper class, but instead insisted on an “upper middle class”.

Friedrich Merz does not want to be upper class

Poverty is usually defined by a number: anyone earning less than 60 percent of the median net income is considered at risk of poverty. There’s the equivalent of “they’re up there”: anyone with more than three times the median net worth is considered rich. For singles, it is almost 5,700 euros. Is it rich?

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It turns out that wealth can be calculated less than it is perceived. Wealth is a matter of life security. It depends not only on the salary, because a well-paid company can go bankrupt during a crisis.

Life security comes from family wealth, inheritance or solid real estate ownership, which is more than an inherited house that you may have to sell because you can no longer afford the rising running costs. The discharge debate shows that agreement is still needed. A common consensus would help to stabilize the general mood of society. The wider it is, the better.

* An earlier version of the article referred to an interview with Tenant Association President Luke Siebenkotten under a misleading title. pointed out. She offered a claim that Mr. Siebenkotten clearly did not raise. Sorry for the inconvenience.

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