VPerhaps Armin Laschet would have preferred to print, as Konrad Adenauer once did during the Bundestag election campaign in 1957, campaign posters with the words “No experiments!” how the top staff of the competition talk about head and neck.
It will not be that easy in 2021, even if terms used by the Union today such as “Security in transition” or “Keeping things moderate” could come from the Adenauer period. On the one hand, current and future challenges require answers, although the Union traditionally sees itself more as a chancellor’s electoral association than as a developer of programmatic drafts. On the other hand, its reputation as a center of political constancy suffered during Angela Merkel’s years as chancellor.
Laschet had to at least provide a blueprint with which the Union could enter into coalition negotiations after election day. The large hodgepodge that he presented on Monday contains – in addition to many promises to different groups of voters, inconsistencies and excuses – important messages: The Union wants to see itself again as a party of the social market economy in which the interests of the economy are also given greater consideration . The economy is not just made up of large corporations and multimillionaires. There are around four million companies in Germany; most are small businesses with few employees. These entrepreneurs were once part of the core clientele of a union, but over the years it has managed to drive quite a few of these former voters into the arms of the AfD or into the large reservoir of non-voters.
The idea that climate policy and the market economy should not be viewed as opposites is also correct, but rather to understand economic progress as a driver of innovation, also for coping with climate policy tasks. Dirigismus should leave the Union to other parties.
The Achilles’ heel of their tax policy proposals remains financing. As a political force that wants to mobilize the bourgeoisie and embody financial reliability, the Union cannot say goodbye to the debt brake. However, even assuming a strong economic recovery, the budgetary room for maneuver in the coming years will not be so great that it would even remotely allow the financing of the comprehensive make a wish from the Union program.
A solid financial policy, which at the same time allows at least a small amount of relief for companies, requires a feat of budgetary strength. After all, the Union could set a counterpoint to a left-wing understanding of financial policy that wants to combine generous indebtedness with tax increases. It is good for the voter if the offers of the parties differ from one another. And for the Union it makes sense to woo bourgeois non-voters rather than unswervingly trying to further marginalize the weak-chested SPD with a social democratic program.
In view of the demographic development, sustainable economic growth requires a considerable increase in productivity, which the state cannot guarantee. Efficient companies and a well-trained workforce are required. Sustainable economic growth forms the basis for pursuing the desired ambitious climate policy without economic and social distortions. But even long-term economic growth is unlikely to be enough to cope with the demographic challenges for social security.
Freedom of action in budgetary policy does not go hand in hand with increasing demands on the federal budget to finance pensions. The generous social policy of the legislative period that is coming to an end must therefore not be continued; Nor will it be possible to permanently reject the topic of retirement age. A vigorous economic policy and a financial policy that sets clear priorities in favor of sustainable economic growth are the order of the day.
The Union’s program wants to set its own accents without committing it to a camp election campaign. Not least in view of the weaknesses of the competition, the appeals to “measure and middle” could bring Laschet to the Chancellery. After that, however, it took considerably more than appeals from Konrad Adenauer’s time.