"Maybrit Illner" on pension: Heil wants to take care of retired pensioners

The Labor Minister's plan for a basic pension challenges the Union. At Maybrit Illner, Salvation passionately argues for the SPD clientele. As in the good old days of political uniqueness.


TV review of Thomas Hummel

At the end of the evening it is hard to see how often Hubertus Heil speaks of "industrious people" who have either worked "hard" or "well". It is the Federal Minister of Labor and Social Affairs to "workers who toil properly". The SPD man mentions "hard-working people" in East Germany and praises himself for the fact that his pension plan would benefit many "hard-working women". He calls cleaners, parcel couriers, hairdressers – of course, all efficient and diligent. Who wants to deny these people a better life in old age?

"More pension from the tax fund – what are the old people worth?" – With this question, the editors of Maybrit Illner have overwritten the evening. The reason for this is the proposal from the Ministry of Welfare to introduce a basic pension to combat old-age poverty. His proposal would cost a few billion a year – but he just did not want "that we abandon these hard-working people," says Heil at Illner. He also likes to talk about a "respect pension" in this context.

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In this respect, the theme of the program could have been: "Welcome back to the eighties, when the political world was still in order". When the SPD was still clearly the party of workers and socially weak, which stood in the ring with the Union, party of entrepreneurs and better middle class. In the ZDF studio represented by the new Secretary General Paul Ziemiak. Even with Ziemiak, the followers can cuddle up to the warmth of the good old days – above all the political uniqueness of the two people's parties.

The SPD rediscovers the old fronts

Ziemiak complains that one can not distribute the money with the watering can principle. It is about the performance principle in society and in general – in the end, everything must be affordable. He would argue rather for the abolition of the solidarity surcharge for high earners, because someone must keep the store here yes. Everyone argues for his clientele. The round is completed by Maria Loheide, social policy director of Diakonie, who supports the SPD man. And by Sarna Röser, Federal Chairman of the Association of Young Entrepreneurs, of course on the side of the Union.

The fronts are so astonishingly clear that the pleadings are so well-known that one wonders where they had actually stayed all those years.

The almost exaggerated appearance of Hubertus Heil, who now really wants to take care of the retired pensioners, illustrates the change of course in the SPD. In the face of ever-decreasing approval rates, the Social Democrats are trying to return to old values. Thus, the party leader Andrea Nahles recently declared a stronger departure of their party from the once self-imposed Hartz IV laws. The restraint of the past few years in social policy should now be over, even if this annoys the coalition partner here and there. This is even accepted as acceptable, because it should be noticeable again differences. In contrast to the eighties, the SPD and the Union have been forming a government together for some time now, and the differences between the two parties had to be sought in some cases during these years.

So now Hubertus Heil with the basic pension. He wants small pensions to be increased by a supplement, without clarifying the need, as is always the case with money from the social budget. (Which raises the question of justice for Ziemiak and Röser, even if the famous "dentist's wife" benefits from it.) The extra money should be given to those who have paid at least 35 years into the pension fund and receive less than 896 euros gross as a pension. For example, the hairdresser, who has a 40-year minimum wage, could receive € 961 instead of € 514 a month. Almost twice as much.

The housing allowance should also be adjusted for high rents. This plan goes far beyond the agreed concept in the coalition agreement, where a premium of ten percent on the basic old-age insurance. Due to the different systems of pension insurance and tax money, it would be a paradigm shift. Heil reports proudly that in recent days he has received many calls from people who support him in his project. "That seems to hit a nerve in the population." Even Union politicians had reported to him with encouragement. Therefore, he was sure to bring this package as a legislative initiative by the Parliament.

As an analyst sits journalist Elisabeth Niejahr at the table, chief reporter of Wirtschaftswoche, She has been dealing with matter for years. It considers Heil's proposal to be fairer than the mother's pension enforced by the Union. However, she sees the problem of intergenerational justice. She expects to save elsewhere or increase the retirement age.

Exit from the coalition? Salvation: "I like to govern"

But first of all, it's about Hubertus Heil's people, whose lifetime achievement is to be rewarded. Maria Loheide of the Diakonie tells of seniors who do not get enough pension, are ashamed and do not apply for an increase. In the broadcast Gudrun Weißmann appears, 62 years old, from Bochum. She worked as a cleaner for 39 years. Current hourly wage: 10.46 euros. If she retires at the age of 65, she would receive 649 euros on her own account. If Heils plan gets through, they would get 300 euros more. "I would be very happy about that."

Later, Heike Debertshäuser comes to it. The woman from Thuringia gets 976 Euro pension. She says: "I'm not feeling well" because she has to give up culture, art and education. It was her dream to study philosophy again, but because of the tuition fees that would not work. Since she was still divorced in the GDR, she did not receive, as is customary in West Germany, half the number of pension points from her ex-husband – a loophole. Heil also promises to take care of you here. Although the matter is very complex.

Journalist Elisabeth Niejahr believes that Heils SPD is preparing to leave the grand coalition in the face of new plans in social policy. But even there, the Minister of Labor has a quick answer ready: "No, I like to govern." Until the next general election, it is still two and a half years today.

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Up to 447 euros more pension for low-income earners, this is the plan of Labor Minister Hubertus Heil. But his concept is not undisputed.


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