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SPD aims to topple Merkel with social justice

Published: 12 Mar 2013 07:00 GMT+01:00

Germany's main opposition party said on Monday it wanted to create a "new social balance" in Europe's biggest economy, judging that the gap between rich and poor was growing and that financial markets needed greater regulation.

SPD candidate for chancellor, Peer Steinbrück, told a news conference that his party would introduce a "legal, flat-rate minimum wage of at least €8.50" if elected in federal election on September 22.

The SPD manifesto also stressed: "Markets need regulation. This is true especially for the financial markets, in which many products continue to be traded without controls - with dangerous consequences. The SPD will create these regulations, with its international partners."

The party also promised to raise the top rate of income tax in Germany to 49 percent for people earning more than €100,000 annually or married couples earning more than €200,000 between them.

Currently, people earning more than €52,882 pay a rate of 42 percent income tax. There is also a so-called "rich tax" affecting those who earn more than €250,000, who pay a rate of 45 percent.

At the European level, the SPD called for a "common economic government" and for the European Commission to be elected by the European Parliament.

"The EU should only legislate what is reasonable at that level. Everything else should remain the individual responsibility of individual member states," said the manifesto.

"The SPD wants to govern because the CDU, CSU and FDP can't," concluded the manifesto, referring to Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats and her pro-business Free Democratic allies.

The manifesto must be formally adopted by a party conference next month.

A survey released on Thursday put the SPD on 26 percent with Merkel's CDU/CSU on 40 percent. But a national poll last week put social justice as the top issue for German voters.

AFP/The Local/mry

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

08:47 March 12, 2013 by pepsionice
They are basically signing up to the Greece philosophy of budget-consequences. Course, this is the year that you have the Pirate Party and the anti-Euro Party....so you can't predict how people will react and vote in the fall.
17:30 March 12, 2013 by Englishted
Will they categorically state that they will reduce the gap between the haves and have nots .

"Judging that the gap between the rich and poor was growing"

Is not the same as doing something about a situation that is a plague in the developed and will eventually cause splits and violence within society.

Sadly I have no faith in a leadership that was in cahoots with C.D.U. in the gross coalition and seems keen on lining it's own pockets as it's number one priority.
19:12 March 12, 2013 by Wrench
So, why should I work? If half my income goes to income tax. Why work? Just live off the social system like the politicians do. I have yet to see a politician that actually wants to work for the people. And another thing, I don't understand this crap about paying my 'fair share'. Why not have a cross the board 20% income tax from every single working person in the country including politicians and companys. That means no more expensive Internal Revenue Service.

I spent years of study to earn a degree, all the while earning a living waiting tables, working at fast food places and even cleaning horse stalls just so I could have half my income taken away and given to some jackass lining his pockets.
19:34 March 12, 2013 by Bulldawg82
Looks like the SPD is mentally bankrupt. If all you ever have for an answer is "we need to raise taxes", then you've got nothing to offer the nation. If the SPD doesn't think they have what it takes to live within a budget, then they should disband or get people who can.
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