Disillusionment for the talented Christian Lindner

Christian Lindner in the Federal Cabinet

Sometimes it seems like Lindner still has to get used to his job.

(Photo: Reuters)

Christian Lindner wants to dare more FDP. The Federal Minister of Finance is currently replacing the staff at the top of his house on a weekly basis. The newcomers have to bring one thing with them above all: FDP stable smell. Personnel policy shows on a small scale what is not going smoothly on a large scale.

Lindner has been Federal Minister of Finance for more than a year. But the FDP boss didn’t really get out of the starting blocks. Sometimes it seems as if Lindner, who, by his own admission, would even pay admission at the gate of the finance department in order to be allowed to do the job, still has to get used to his office.

In any case, the fact that Lindner’s liberals are teetering towards the five percent hurdle in polls is not only due to the fact that FDP supporters are culturally and ideologically unfamiliar with the traffic light. But also significantly to Lindner himself.

Despite an astonishing political flexibility at the turn of the century and undeniable successes such as the largest tax cuts since Gerhard Schröder, too many things are not going optimally.

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He often tries to strike a statesmanlike pose, but comes across as flighty. The finance minister often sends conflicting signals. Announcements are often not followed by action. With which Lindner corresponds at least in part to the cliché decal that has stuck to FDP bosses since Guido Westerwelle’s never fulfilled tax promises.

Media professional Lindner with many PR mishaps

In any case, it’s amazing that so many PR mishaps should happen to such a rhetorically talented and experienced media professional in such a short time. Writing a greeting for a bank, with which Lindner recently caused a stir, was just one example.

Before that there was already “Porsche Gate” or the debate about his marriage. The greeting is not a scandal, it is a private matter at the wedding. But all in all, this doesn’t leave a good impression.

More decisive than these trifles, however, is Lindner’s somewhat over-excited style of government. If you didn’t know better, you might think that the FDP leader is deliberately confusing voters. At the turn of the year, for example, a paper from the Ministry of Finance became known that, among other things, provided for tax cuts. A declaration of war against the SPD and the Greens, it seemed.

At first, Lindner’s house did not want to comment on its own paper. Then the minister cleared his own suggestions: none of them could be enforced at traffic lights. But then why the paper? The slogan issued by Lindner at the same time that there was no scope for relief given the tight budget situation caused complete confusion.

Christian Lindner and the traffic light

The Federal Minister of Finance does not always cut a good figure in government.

Even at the Epiphany meeting of the FDP, it became apparent that Lindner had not yet fully arrived in office. The party leader there called for an “education billion” per year, i.e. an increase in the education budget. Instead of demanding it as party leader, he could simply implement it as federal finance minister, after all, he draws up the budget. The same applies to the stock pension. Lindner does not have a total of ten billion euros in mind here, but rather a year.

Why doesn’t Lindner put more pressure on him? The debt would not even fall under the debt brake. And a Wolfgang Schäuble used to put together packages worth billions on an ad hoc basis.

Lindner’s gut feeling also sometimes produces strange priorities. A few days before the NRW elections, he hastily presented key points for a lower real estate transfer tax last year. Unsurprisingly, the proposal fizzled out. With the package already planned at the time to reduce creeping tax increases, Lindner already had the gold in his hands with which he could have gone to the Rhine and Ruhr to attract voters.

Since then, the proposal for a real estate transfer tax has been on the shelf, and nothing more has been heard of the plans for a tax FBI that were presented with a great deal of fanfare. But Lindner will have to deliver here, especially with regard to its own clientele.

Badly sold record debt in the energy crisis

Lindner also did not sell the record debts in the energy crisis very well. The Federal Finance Minister acted as if he would ensure super-stable state finances by complying with the debt brake in 2023. A contradiction in terms if you park 300 billion euros in debt in side budgets at the same time.

But there is a second contradiction. Lindner has made the honorable attempt to underpin his fiscal policy with a “fiscal policy strategy”. Guard rail: The state must not fuel inflation. But those who plan aid programs on a double-barreled scale are of course fueling inflation. That’s what economists and central bankers say.

On the other hand, Lindner surprisingly sells successes below value. The FDP boss can really show something when it comes to the liberal heart issue of relief. But it took a long time before there were rudimentary calculations of how much ordinary people would benefit from the many aid packages.

In turn, Lindner has surprisingly little use of the international stage that Schäuble and Scholz have always sought as finance ministers. One thing is certain: Daring more FDP alone will not be enough if Lindner, who undoubtedly has done a great job with his party’s return to the Bundestag, wants to succeed in office in the next three years.

More: Finance Minister Lindner is realigning his department – ​​the Secretary of State for Europe is being replaced

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