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Only one month to go

The parliamentary elections for the German Bundestag in 2013 – no election has ever been as important as this one. The euro is under fire because the currency is becoming softer and softer. The government is messing about with multibillion guarantees and liabilities, which will be necessary if the European banks that are not yet closed must close. The European political union still suffers from the old wound: the impossible synchronisation of monetary systems, which also the euro could not overcome. Europe has reached the edges of its existing contracts, and also at the end of its patience with respect to the faults of politics. In Germany, the situation is dramatic too. Here, all is about saving face. The face of the government is Angela Merkel who is currently riding into her last battle.

The Bundestag has virtually given up its right to decide about the federal budget. Germany is ruled by Europe, and the European Central Bank (ECB) makes the rules. The representation of the people by the parliament does no longer exist. We are in a crisis that threatens to wipe out the representation of the people and democracy. And in the middle of it all there is Angela Merkel fuelling the crisis. She wants to put more money, i.e. loans for loans, into the indebted German state. Thus, the debt of a state budget that is already burdened with 12 000 billion (stemming from 2 000 billion explicit and 10 000 billion implicit state debt) will still increase.

The people should vote for Angela, because she's the one who is making promises. The existing debt of the state are still driven higher by so-called election gifts. The euro is irretrievably lost.

Although all of these facts are likely to be known even by the CDU / CSU, the parties performed their 2013 election manifesto under the slogan: "Growth needs vision and a stable euro" and printed it on their posters.

The accompanying government programme that has been adopted on 23 June under the title "Together successfully for Germany – government programme 2013 - 2017" states: "Our goal is clear: Germany is to remain a strong and prosperous country with a stable euro, safe and sustainable jobs – a country of cohesion. Germany is one of the strongest countries in the world. If you look around in Europe, you will see: This good performance cannot be taken for granted."

The programme affirms social market economy, the middle class, wants to create a "responsible fiscal policy", "strict rules for the financial markets" and "sustainable growth" and also states: "Our joint efforts have developed much to the better. Europe and the euro are progressing. This also makes our country stronger – never before had so many people in Germany a job as today. This shows that the right policy of the CDU and CSU is good for everybody. To set the course for the future correctly and also to ensure future prosperity, we need a sustainable economy that secures the livelihoods and life chances of future generations."

Properly read, the programme is a catalogue of lies. You will find classics as the performance lie that belongs to tax policy (CDU: "Performance should be rewarded"). They also dream of growth again – a sheer dream, because growth is no longer possible. It's long gone. The nice thing of the dreamed-of growth: In fact, the gross domestic product (GDP) increases nominally at a constant percentage. This is, however, not an achievement of any government or party, but a very simple calculation: If the GDP increases, so will the debt. The bad thing: The higher the dreamed-of growth used for the calculation has been, the higher is also the percentage of debt. And on top of this there is still a debt rate resulting from the dreamed-of annual growth rate. This is attributable to governments' policies. In the short term, the economy is cranked up; in the long term, the debt keeps piling up. How wealth should be secured in this way remains questionable.

A fact is: Germany delays insolvency. And Angela Merkel has not kept any of her former campaign promises. The government promised

Shortly after her birthday and shortly before her summer holiday, Merkel took stock. On the federal press conference, she said: "There's no issue about which I could say: We have not made anything about it." And she continued that the euro crisis is approaching its end; Germany's economy is doing well; and the people in the flooded areas of Germany are being supported. She finds her job still "very rewarding." It is a "very nice, inspiring work."

The facts suggest the contrary: The figures of Germany's state budget mean that we are broke. The budget is kept afloat because payments as liabilities and guarantees are not listed in the household, even though they are to be paid by the taxpayer, which affects the deficit limits of the debt brake, but is not indicative of a balanced budget as promised by Finance Minister Schäuble for 2015. Merkel has therefore hardly secured the finances. The tax relief of 24 billion euros, about which Merkel has always been talking, never occurred. The tax agreement with Switzerland, the reasonable reform of the income tax and trade tax, the reorganization of funds for municipalities have all failed. The regulation of financial markets failed – and so did the reform of financial market supervision. In addition, the Merkel government stood up against state liability for banking crises, but failed to create an effective liquidation authority for banks.

And also the government's plan for an education republic failed. Disoriented education policy creates no new momentum for education. Students and professors suffer from lack of money; scholarship programmes that were meant to help students from less privileged families show a poor performance: out of a targeted total of 160,000 scholarships only 11,000 exist to date. Also the allocation of university places should be improved, but reorganisation did not occur. Instead, financial means for initial training, advanced training, tax incentives for research and development were all cut.

Energy supply in Germany remained unchanged. That's no surprise for anyone, but it is surprising that a project of the red-green coalition that began on 13 January 1999 with the draft of a Nuclear Energy Act, has now been completed by the black-yellow coalition. The draft of the social democratic-green coalition suggested a well-organised and safe exit from nuclear energy. The energy companies are against this resolution, and during the time between 2002 and 2009 they hardly move in any direction – and so did the social democrats of the SPD, who as part of the grand coalition at least prevent the withdrawal of the law that is in force since 27 April 2002 by their mere presence in the government. After Chancellor Merkel took over government business together with the liberals of the FDP in 2005, it was not before 7 June 2010 that they decided that nuclear energy companies shall pay a tax on fuel elements – regardless of any lifetime extensions. This tax should bring the federal government 2.3 billion euros in annual revenues from 2011 onwards. The companies threaten to take legal action against this decision.

At a summit on 5 September 2010, the coalition agreed on lifetime extensions with an average duration of 12 years – the companies were supposed to pay about 30 billion euros via the nuclear tax and a so-called green energy fund. First, this programme seems to offer a solution that helps, on the one hand, the state and, on the other hand, protects electricity rate payers from having to pay the costs of green energy entirely alone. A few days later, however, a contract between the government and nuclear companies becomes publicly known, in which the companies were granted safeguard clauses. These clauses provide that the cost of security upgrades is limited to 500 million euros in each case. In case of higher costs, payments to the green energy fund should be reduced. The same applies if the lifetimes or nuclear power plants should be reduced. So the Bundestag on 28 October 2010 decides in favour of the longer lifetimes.

When on 11 March 2011 – after a severe earthquake and a tsunami – a number of serious accidents in the Japanese nuclear power plant Fukushima Daiichi become known, the government change their mind and announce safety audits for 17 German nuclear power plants; as a result, seven German reactors are decommissioned. They were all built before 1980. After this, Merkel announces the phasing out of nuclear power. It should be completed by 2022 – at the beginning of 2011, several major German energy companies announce that they stop payments into the green energy development fund, as these are linked to the granted lifetime extension. They also demand an end of the nuclear tax, which was meant to contribute 14 billion to the budget by 2016. Now it also became clear that the nuclear phase-out was a done deal, but the cost for the development of renewable energies would not be borne by the energy companies. Therefore, the Merkel government has not decided in favour of the citizen, but once more alone in the interests of the corporations.

Even the health care sector – that Angela Merkel and her companions expressly wanted to preserve – is now rather suffering than healed. In this field, Merkel can submit one single result: the law on health care, which must be ratified by the Federal Council two days before the elections to be valid at all. Since the SPD and the Greens do not really agree with this law, the health care issue might well be put on hold. Similarly, the "new, differentiated dependency on care", once promised by CDU / CSU / FDP, will be put on hold. So far, there are at least suggestions of an expert group – a reform is, however, not in sight.

There are certainly more issues to be included in the above list. But there is one thing, we are absolutely sure about: it's the fact that the promises of the current Chancellor are worth as little as those of the same future Chancellor.
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