The “traffic light” book on progress – Handelsblatt Morning Briefing

the book of the day has 177 pages, a good medium size. It lacks the usual structure of bestsellers, i.e. an earthquake at the beginning, which then needs to be increased. The highlights are – after a solemn “preamble”, which is a bit of an overall preview – divided into eight chapters, in which the simple construction subject-predicate-object is consistently standard. The subject here is always the “we”. It occurs in all possible phrases that the citizens would also formulate in their breadth.

The parties that unite here to “we” for a time are called SPD, Greens and FDP. And “Dare to make more progress” is the name of her book on the alliance, the adaptation of Willy Brandts that was hit with a mallet “Dare more democracy” of October 28, 1969.

The new departure is much more resilient than the government in Sweden, for example, where the social democrat Magdalena Andersson resigned after just eight hours after the Greens disappeared as coalition partners.

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What was the paralysis of society 52 years ago in Germany, this belief in authority and illiberality, is today the backwardness in digitization, climate protection, statecraft and infrastructure. This analogy suggests “dare to make more progress” with the Willy bond.

Even then, the FDP and SPD ruled (the Greens did not yet exist), and the pragmatist Helmut Schmidt was a minister. Yesterday evening, the designated FDP transport minister, Volker Wissing, made the Freudian slip of the tongue at “Maischberger” by calling the new chancellor “Olaf Schmidt”.

Volker Wissing could join the traffic light government as transport minister.

(Photo: imago images / photo booth)

Former Chancellor Brandt, incidentally, on that October day before his democracy sentence called for “shared responsibility”: “Such a democratic order requires extraordinary patience in listening and extraordinary effort to understand one another.”

The traffic light coalition has done it that way, interim applause. A sufficiently large number of citizens will have to follow, after all, the physicist Georg Christoph Lichtenberg asked: “What good does all sunrise do if we don’t get up?”

The traffic light coalition introspection: “We are in the mood for something new” (optionally “We are in the mood for the future”) is also an invitation to the “enabling, learning and digital state”. This is still simply “overwhelmed” in its fax nonsense, as the economist Moritz Schularick analyzes in his most recent, outstanding book.

Many quickly got down to that Overturned the progress book of the day, in order to find out in sociolinguistic fine-tuning where who has prevailed. That leads too little. It is more expedient to appreciate the concrete measures woven into the political and lyric “We will-we-want-we-strengthen” staccato.

A small selection: digital legislative portal, citizens’ councils, active voting age 16, reform of the EEG surcharge, data institute, start-up grant, German Agency for Transfer and Innovation, German Tech Transfer Fund, European Union for Green Hydrogen, Federal Nature Conservation Fund, ban glyphosate from the market by 2023 (greetings too to Monsanto!), twelve euros minimum wage, citizens’ allowance instead of Hartz IV, basic child security, controlled distribution of cannabis, abolition of the transsexual law and paragraph 219a (“advertising for abortion”).

The Ampelkoalitionionen slogan their contract with “dare more future”.

(Photo: AP)

If you want to read, you will feel a lot of realpolitik and “Olaf Schmidt” on the 177 pages. The little story that leads to great progress is also an investment program.

Economists are right to comment positively on the first work of the author community. “The coalition agreement calms me down,” says Lars Feld, once head of the economic wise men: “The feared escalating financial policy will not come.”

The contract sends “really good, energetic signals”, thinks the current economy Achim Truger. And his colleague Monika Schnitzer praises the “pragmatic financing options for the extensive public and private investments required”. This refers to the stronger role of the KfW development bank, the proposed private-public partnerships and loan programs from state-owned companies such as Deutsche Bahn.

The authors of “Daring to Make More Progress” are led by a “socio-ecological market economy” that is to bring at least 15 million fully electric cars and 80 percent electricity from renewable energies by 2030.

As far as Europe is concerned, there is actually the desirable “further development towards a federal European federal state”, which should be strategically sovereign and, notably, sustainable. Even new fiscal policy rules for economic and monetary union seem under Chancellor Olaf Scholz possible, whose first official trip will lead to Paris and who has freshly written: “We lead a strong Franco-German partnership”.

Angela Merkel, a physicist from the East, shied away from the pathos of French President Emmanuel Macron. The tensions are gone, even under the pressure of the events – the media appreciate Macron’s close ties with Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi as “Dracon”.

Today, Thursday, the Frenchman is traveling to Rome for two days to sign a far-reaching cooperation agreement. Everyone agrees to lend a hand on the “Maastricht criteria” for the European debt settlement.

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And then there is a joint pandemic crisis team, which the new federal government uses “immediately”, as well as an “interdisciplinary scientific pandemic council” at the Federal Ministry of Health.

The emergency initiative immediately invites you to ask: Why didn’t this exist earlier? What made Angela Merkel stick to this corona regime with the Prime Minister, whose mediation Markus Söder used at press conferences for “I can chancellor PR”? And what will actually become of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), which seems to compensate for its failure to prepare valid data with all the more threatening warnings? In any case, RKI boss Lothar Wieler can understand the ideas of the “traffic light” as a vote of no confidence.

Today we don’t end with Hermann Hesse (“There is magic in every beginning”), as it is obvious, but rather with Aristotle: “The beginning is half of the whole.”

I wish you a wonderful day.

I warmly greet you
Hans-Jürgen Jakobs
Senior editor

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