Christian Lindner put his tank discount on the line in a way that you shouldn’t do in a coalition of three if you don’t want to cause bad blood: Discussed with hardly anyone, released via the “Bild” newspaper. Lindner estimated a relief of 40 cents per liter with 6,600 million euros in costs for three months.
To be sure, he qualified his initiative as a contribution to the debate. However, the idea of him caused problems.
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The Greens and the SPD stress that a blanket discount cannot be socially justified. After all, everyone pays for top earners with big cars to be relieved on the watering-can principle. SPD circles say there is “zero distributive justice” in Lindner’s proposal.
In addition, there is the question of whether the oil companies would not raise prices at such a discount again. “If I were an oil company now, I would try to get a cartel deal at 3.50 euros a litre,” says an opposition politician sarcastically.
It alludes to the fact that prices already appear to be clearly being buoyed by high levels of profit-taking by companies and refiners. Because the price of oil has recently dropped significantly again. Economy Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) is already examining these price formations at the Federal Cartel Office.
Classification according to income: up to 150 euros for three months?
Instead of the Lindner tank discount, according to information from the Tagesspiegel, Hubertus Heil (SPD) is now discussing an idea from the Federal Ministry of Labour. Also because the Greens cannot come up with a coherent concept for the energy money they demand for low and middle incomes.
First, the “Bild am Sonntag” had a so-called mobility allowance informed. The initial drafts of the Ministry of Labor provided that 40 or 50 euros per month would be paid for gross income of up to 2,000 euros, 35 euros per month for income of 3,000 euros and 20 euros for income of up to 4,000 euros, limited to three months. So a maximum of 150 euros with an income of 2000 euros.
This would have the advantage that citizens would also feel somewhat relieved about rising electricity and heating costs. The money would be paid through the employer out of wage bills, which offset the subsidies with correspondingly lower payroll tax payments.
Klingbeil expects a deal as soon as next week
With a view to social benefit recipients, pensioners, trainees and students, relief, possibly through one-off payments, is also being examined.
According to “Bild am Sonntag”, the concept would cost the state one billion euros per month. Therefore, the top earners would walk away empty-handed. SPD party leader Lars Klingbeil hopes a deal will be reached at traffic lights next week.
Whether the FDP will accept it is an open question. The leader of the FDP parliamentary group, Christian Dürr, is combative. “The tank discount is by no means off the table. We will continue to discuss relief next week. All models are still up for grabs,” he told the “Bild” newspaper.
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“It is important that we do not spill the money with the shower, but specifically relieve those with small and medium incomes, because now they are the most affected,” Klingbeil told the “Bild” newspaper, a rejection. of the tank discount.
He sees no reason to subsidize high earners for their energy expenditure. People like him can refuel for 2.30 euros, the state does not have to help them. “But my neighbor, who travels to Hamburg as a nurse, needs support now,” Klingbeil said.
It is known and decided so far that the heating allowance is increased. The subsidy for the beneficiaries of the housing subsidy should be double the initially planned amount of 270 euros for a single-person household. Two-person households get €350 and €70 for each additional family member.
In addition, saving measures such as speed limits are being discussed, but the FDP rejects it.
Merz: Better to reduce energy and VAT
In the Tagesspiegel interview, CDU leader Friedrich Merz also rejected Lindner’s tank discount proposal as completely wrong. “I have to say I’m somewhat surprised, to say the least, that this is coming from the FDP,” Merz said.
“The idea is clearly based on the will to do everything except what the Union has proposed,” Merz said of Lindner’s plan. “Our path is much simpler: reduce the energy tax and sales tax on diesel and gasoline from 19 percent to seven percent. That would be a little bureaucratic, fast and good help for everyone”.
At the moment, however, this route does not seem to be able to win a majority at the traffic lights either. The SPD and the Greens insist on an income-based solution, which is intended to benefit lower-income groups in particular.
Energy prices have increased dramatically
Energy prices have risen 27 percent in the three weeks since Russia invaded Ukraine, according to the Verivox portal.
Calculate the energy costs for a model three-person household with an annual heating requirement of 20,000 kilowatt hours, an electricity consumption of 4,000 kilowatt hours, and an annual mileage of 13,300 kilometers.
According to Verivox, on February 24, the day of the invasion, the energy costs of such a model home were 5,454 euros per year. On Thursday, March 17, the same amount of energy cost 6,946 euros.
Oil heating even became more expensive by 59 percent. According to Verivox, the cost of gasoline increased 21 percent in the three weeks and 34 percent that of diesel.
Therefore, Economy Minister Robert Habeck is trying to agree on new sources of gas and oil supply from Norway to Qatar, so that dependence on Russia will decrease no later than next winter, but also pressure on prices .