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