Position on property and freedom: Analysis of the German party programs. Part V. Die LINKE

_ Prof. Dr. Gerd Habermann, executive director, Friedrich A. von Hayek Society, honorary professor, University of Potsdam. 23 September 2021.*

Time to act. For social security, peace and climate justice! (148 pages)

Overall impression

One has to wonder that after the worldwide failure of socialism, even in every new experiment (as in Venezuela), socialist programs can still be published in Germany in the hope of approval. The term “socialism” is carefully avoided, even under the better-sounding term “democratic” socialism. As a matter of fact, there is not only a clearly outspoken distancing from the extinct totalitarian GDR socialism (one should only “work on it in a differentiated manner”), but the anti-capitalist terminology is evident everywhere, in expressions such as “predatory capitalism”, “people before profit”, “Housing is not a commodity”, “breaking the power of banks and financial markets” etc. The egalitarian socialization program is supplemented by aspects of fashionable gender politics for minority sexual deviances and radical “left feminism”. An “ecological system change” in the interests of the climate goes without saying, plus utopian universalism and pacifism.

Economy: a program of nationalization

This is a program against the market economy, personal responsibility, and entrepreneurship. A comprehensive nationalization program is announced, such as: companies of the municipal services of general interest (“Federal Fund for Remunicipalization”), banks and insurance companies, pharmaceutical and medical industries, post, telecommunications structure, and “other key industries”, including the large energy companies and transport companies. The focus is on public provision for everyone (as a “legal right”), starting with “wages that are sufficient for a good life”. No more low wages (at least 13 euros), work contracts and temporary work, the whole low wage sector of mini and midi jobs. A fair minimum income should be 1,200 euros. “Inequality is unsocial!” The “sex workers” should also be able to train and retrain at state expense and receive unemployment benefits if the clientele is absent. Jobs in private households only through certified agencies or public welfare organizations. An “anti-stress ordinance” for companies should reduce work pressure. They are also to be “democratized”, that is, more power should be given to the trade unions and works councils. The minimum vacation is to be increased to 30 days, the weekly working hours are to be reduced, with full wages, of course. Everyone has a statutory right to further training. Upper limits for executive and manager salaries are also a matter of course. Social and economic councils draft macroeconomic development plans. And finally, a special corporate criminal law is demanded! “Just” mobility – a wonderful demand as well as “global freedom of movement”, i.e. a world state without borders.

The housing market is to be socialized by a nationwide rent cap, because rents must not be profitable. Real estate groups should be put “on the chain”! A public land fund will take care of the rest: “Building land in community hands!”

Monetary, financial and tax policy: a cabinet of horrors

The LEFT does not value solid public finances: Abolition of the debt brake! And once again “breaking the power” – this time the banks and financial markets and even of the private auditors, away with the “tax havens”.

A wealth tax is to be implemented: everything over 1 million euros (for business assets with exemptions of at least 5 million euros) with 5 percent – that allegedly would results in 100 billion euros in government revenue that would be available for public investments. In addition, an asset tax is to be implemented “to cope with the Corona crisis”: from a net asset of 2 million euros or (for companies) of 5 million euros, progressively from 10-30 percent over 20 years (also in instalments). Over 20 years: 310 billion euros. Of course, an increase in inheritance tax with the abolition of privileges for business assets is to be implemented: this allegedly should bring another 8-10 billion euros.

The corporate tax should be raised 25 percent! A financial transaction tax and municipal business tax are to replace the trade tax, but with an extended assessment basis (leases, rents, leasing instalments – and with the inclusion of freelancers).

And now the income tax: It should be high with the marginal tax rate: 53 percent already from 70,000 euros gross annual income and a separate wealthy tax: 75 percent above a million euros.

A federal finance police against tax evasion is – as with the Greens – indispensable, plus more staff for the tax authorities!

As for the local economy: comprehensive remunicipalisation, because private wealth only leads to public poverty. The public transport should introduce a zero tariff. Regional air traffic will be replaced by the state railways, which will combine Lufthansa with the Deutsche Bahn to form a state-owned company. Away with public-private partnerships (“PPP”)…

Social and societal policy for a “good life”

Instead of “Hartz IV” a “unemployment benefit plus”, “needs-based and sanction-free”, a kind of unconditional basic income are to be introduced. A “system change” is allegedly required. Compulsory pension insurance “for everyone” (also for the self-employed, civil servants, etc.), appropriate socialization. Also with the statutory health insurance (against “two-class medicine”, so away with the private health insurance), nationalization also of the hospitals (“profit ban”), accordingly also the long-term care insurance, “Break the power of the pharmaceutical industry” (a favourite term of the LEFT: “Breaking power”). Limitation of the purchase prices for medical practices and even distribution of the doctor’s seats, so here too nationalization or a central planned economy.

The party’s family policy is collectivist and aims to weaken families, e.g., through their own “basic child protection”.

It goes without saying that the left is now also “changing”, as well as discovering minority sexual “victim groups” (LGBTQI), which should be promoted somehow as if they were the salt of the earth and as if “society” were responsible for their alleged “disadvantage”. A 50 percent quota of women in all management positions is to be introduced.

Education policy: anti-elite

There should be a lifelong legal entitlement to free education and further training: No selection! Hence the abolition of numerus clausus and selection interviews; parent-independent, repayment-free BAFöG, i.e. for everyone. “Democratization of universities”, the age-old demand of the radical left. There should be a “legal right to inclusive education” – despite their well-known major disadvantages – especially for the disabled.

“Climate change is made by the rich”

“Climate change is not made by the people, but by the rich – with their numerous trips, large properties and yachts”. So, then an ecological and social system change, for a left “Green New Deal” is demanded! In the case of the ecological conversion, there should be a rescue fund for industrial jobs that are threatened as a result and a legal right to further training (for this: public funds). Climate policy must also be “gender-equitable”.

This and that

The LEFT also sees its image of society as a model for the whole world. It is for a world welfare state according to its ideals. Open borders are understood to mean a “solidarity immigration society”. There should be a “human right to peace” (who should sue for that?). Bilateralism is preferred to free trade. An anti-racism commissioner with strong powers is planned: a terrorist institution with the absurdly expanded concept of racism. They want to “democratize” our democracy, but by that they don’t mean “people’s democracy”, but direct democracy – one of the few positive points of the program. And finally: “A right to personal assistance in all areas of life” – the excess of a nanny state. Even the way out of suicide is made more difficult: “No advertising for death”.

Conclusion

The LEFT’s program is hostile to freedom and which must lead to the ruin of the economy and society. Indeed, a rigorous system change to socialism is being described here. Leftists like to speak of a “good life”. We have seen what this means under real socialist conditions.

*Translated from the original German publication on Achgut.com.

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