• Germany's news in English

Government slates 'Robin Hoods' wealth tax

The Local · 3 Aug 2012, 15:07

Published: 03 Aug 2012 15:07 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The coalition of unions, social organizations and NGO's has launched a new push for a higher tax on top earners in an attempt to cap the rapidly growing national debt and enable greater investment in education and renewable energy.

They follow the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) which suggested last month that people with a substantial private fortune be made to spend 10 percent of what they have over €250,000 on government bonds.

The coalition presented its proposal on Friday in Berlin, calling for a permanent restoration of the property tax and a one-time capital tax on Germany's richest, as well as more taxes on inheritance and investment income.

"The time is ripe for redistribution," said Frank Bsirske, the head of the service union Verdi, who added that as long as Germany was a tax haven for the wealthy, heirs and speculators, the welfare state was at risk.

The opposition Social Democrats as well as the Greens and the Left party have praised the suggestion.

The Greens' fiscal policy spokesman Gerhard Schick said it was unacceptable that "social services and public infrastructure are cut because the conservative government has dispensed with levelling adequate taxes on wealth."

But the Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats and their coalition partner the pro-business Free Democrats said higher taxes were the wrong way to go.

"Income redistribution remains the favourite drug of the political left, but is absolutely intolerable for our national economy," warned FDP General Secretary Patrick Döring.

Story continues below…

Döring also levelled a personal attack at Verdi head Frank Brsirke, saying he was aiming to gain “the popularity of Robin Hood.”

The Local/sh

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

16:25 August 3, 2012 by pjnt
Every 2 weeks the same garbage. Is this them hoping the more they say it the likelier we are to believe it? BS.

We may be going broke but the system is broke. Increase government efficiency, stop spending money we don't have and stop "loaning"money to countries that can't or won't pay it back.

It seems every large government project is vastly over-budget, too. Incompetence, corruption and ignorance.

Fix all that and if you STILL have problems, ask the people to help the government. Since in Germany it is the Government that is here to help the people, no?
16:40 August 3, 2012 by cheeba
Here is another title that has nothing to do with the article. The government has slated nothing. This is a proposal from groups that have been proposing the same things for decades.

I imagine they feel not enough rich Germans have relocated to Switzerland (only tens of thousands so far) and so they want to see yet more go.
17:46 August 3, 2012 by smart2012
cheeba, i thought everyone in Germany was rich... :-)
18:00 August 3, 2012 by cheeba
Everyone but me. :(
02:10 August 4, 2012 by Eric1
More greedy leftist who want to confiscate money from people who earn it. Government cannot create wealth but it can distroy it.
07:19 August 4, 2012 by pepsionice
Here's the deal....it sounds good on paper, and when the political player explains the original details....you really think it's great.

So day one starts, and you get roughly a year of this tax-the-evil-rich-guy. Once the rich folks figure out the whole scheme....why would you want to just an extra million Euro out of the left hand which would have filtered into the company, bonuses, or would have been spent on luxury-class cars or fancy home renovation in Germany (note, all of that equals cash going into private German business).....to put into the government's hand? The million Euro is now missing from the public/private sector and will not be made up. Multiply that by 10k.

So the rich guys decide it's better to shift business interests around, and find some great deals waiting for them in Bulgaria and Romania. It might take a year or two....but eventually, they've shifted fifty percent of their production out of Germany. The tax revenue that the government made? That's gone. The extra money that they were taking as part of the tax-the-rich scheme? That's gone. So they stand there and try to explain this to the public three years later, when they have the newest financial crisis.

Plan B after this point? You go and tax-the-almost-rich (hint, it only takes ten years...to get down to the tax-the-middle-class because there's not any real substance left).

How do you carve off expenses? Well....you start to ask stupid questions. Infrastructure projects in Germany are often tied to some guy who has fixed up his political alliances and gotten some community to back his concept for a opera house. To be honest, the opera house would never be a profitable operation, but it shows culture and that's all it takes. It's a money-pit.....not a opera house. So they spend three years building this and open the operation....where you mostly use government funds on a permanent basis to keep the opera house open and running. In a normal year, you can expect at least three hundred type money-pits being organized and developed for government funding in Germany. No one asks questions.....it just gets some approval and gets funded.

The minute that you say there's X amount of money on the table, and no more....then the money-pit schemes quickly become a fight-to-the-death, and half of them don't ever make it to a successful conclusion. So far, you can't find any German political figures who will say there's only X amount of money on the table, and they are very willing to go back and tax more....to make up for what you don't have.
08:38 August 5, 2012 by Ozichick
Instead of taxing the already highly taxed citizens who have worked hard to reach their economic position politicians should tax the lazy bums who have no desire to work and expect the tax-payers to support them in their chosen lifestyle. They are given welfare - and a myriad of other benefits - so a "lazy tax" should be deducted from their money. There is no reason to be unemployed for ever. Not everyone can be a brain surgeon so they should accept any job. No work, no eat!

I'm so fed up with left-wing ideologues who themselves have right-wing taste for the good life.
22:45 August 5, 2012 by olog-hai
The "Robin Hood" false analogy concocted by leftists is more than merely tiresome at this point. Robin Hood never was, and never will be, the government-the government will always be represented by the character of Prince John (based on the real King John), who in the legend taxed all to the hilt.
Today's headlines
Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Parents who don't get nursery spot for kid entitled to pay
Photo: DPA

The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) ruled on Thursday that parents whose children don't receive placements in nursery care are entitled to compensation.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd