There is too much standstill in the country; most people can agree on that these days; strikes, farmers' protests and economic stagnation also provide the best illustrative material. When people ask why the governing parties SPD, Greens and FDP together barely get 30 to 35 percent of the vote in surveys, the answer usually boils down to this: Olaf Scholz, Robert Habeck and Christian Lindner have it because they are constantly arguing block, changed too little in the country, at least not in the right places.
Correspondent for economic policy and deputy head of economics and “Money & More” for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung in Berlin.
Follow I follow
“We need something that could be called Agenda 2030,” recently demanded the economist Clemens Fuest, head of the Munich Ifo Institute, in reference to the “Agenda 2010” with which a social democrat named Gerhard Schröder once turned the social system upside down. Employer President Rainer Dulger put it a little differently; he has been calling for more “courage to change” from the federal government for a long time.
There is no lack of desire for more energy from other quarters either. The climate gluers, for example, no longer want to stick, but rather move into the European Parliament - but one thing does not change: the desire for the greatest possible change in climate policy.
Standstill or excessive change?
In fact, the three coalition parties have often blocked each other due to arguments. Because some want to stimulate the economy through state investments and others, on the contrary, want to push back the state, neither of these things will happen. Benefits that were announced with great aplomb are canceled shortly afterwards due to financial difficulties. And compromises in the European Union, laboriously negotiated by some, are abandoned shortly afterwards.
But is too much standstill really the cause of the annoyance? Or in reality an excess of change?
After all, the government put the population under a lot of stress in its first two years in office - first involuntarily, then of its own accord. First of all, the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 brought about a huge amount of change. Rising energy costs and generally higher prices were the consequences that were noticeable in everyday life, and a new feeling of threat was the symptom of the latently noticeable change in times. And all of this after the Corona years had already strained people's nerves.
Turning point heating law
In any case, the government experienced its decline in popularity not because of too little activity, but because of too much activity. The decisive turning point was the infamous heating law last spring. It was poorly made and even more poorly communicated, but there is some evidence to suggest that it wasn't just the craftsmanship defects that triggered the storm of indignation. The change itself startled people even as they had barely recovered from the initial shock of the energy crisis.
The previously latent concern about the consequences of war and climate change suddenly penetrated into the closest living environment: our own home. In an Allensbach survey from May, a large majority of Germans supported climate protection in general. However, 80 percent of those surveyed rejected the planned ban on new oil and gas heating systems.