Economists on the Karlsruhe verdict: Reforming the debt brake would be an option

BERLIN (dpa-AFX) – After the Federal Constitutional Court declared the second supplementary budget for 2021 void, economists are bringing a reform of the debt brake into play. This is what he sets New debt the federal government has narrow limits. “A reform of the debt brake with new, clearly defined debt windows would be a better way than constantly testing the constitutional gray area of ​​the debt brake,” explained Friedrich Heinemann from ZEW in Mannheim. The President of the Munich Ifo Institute, Clemens Fuest, also believes a reform is conceivable in which new debt would be limited to net investments, as he wrote on X (formerly Twitter).

The President of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), Marcel Fratzscher, wrote on Twitter: “There is still enough money in the Climate and Transformation Fund (KTF) so that the ban by the Federal Constitutional Court will not lead to immediate problems.” The federal government should now suspend the debt brake for at least another year in order to be able to take out the necessary loans and finance promised measures. The debt brake is not up to date “because it deprives politicians of the necessary leeway to combat crises and make urgent investments in the future – in education, climate protection, innovation and infrastructure.”

The Federal Constitutional Court declared a reallocation of 60 billion euros in the 2021 budget to be unconstitutional on Wednesday. The federal government is not allowed to use funds intended to combat the Corona crisis for climate protection. This could have a major impact on the so-called climate and transformation fund, from which the federal government wanted to pay for numerous funding programs – including for the replacement of old oil and gas heating systems.

From the perspective of transparent budget policy, the verdict is to be welcomed, wrote ZEW scientist Heinemann. “The flight from the core budgets at the federal and state levels was an undesirable development, which made democratic control of the budgets more difficult. The attempt to exploit a short-term crisis – the pandemic – for a longer-term debt opportunity has now failed.”

Fuest noted: “Politicians are currently handling money quite loosely and are distributing subsidies with dubious justifications, such as the 10 billion for Intel in Magdeburg. The ruling now forces a lot of things to be put to the test.” Fratzscher made a similar statement: “After the huge subsidies for industry, the federal government should make its aid more socially balanced and not forget people with middle and low incomes.”/hrz/DP/men

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