“We must not look with envy at those who are already doing well”

Swiss Parliament rejects cap on executive pay, German Bundestag also discussed income inequity and wealth levies or tax yesterday

As expected, the Swiss National Council has rejected the initiative introduced by the Jusos, Grunen and trade unions "1:12 initiative – for fair wages" Rejected. Earlier, the Bundesrat recommended to reject the initiative, saying that income inequity is not so bad and will be mitigated by more appropriate measures such as taxes. In addition, there is a threat of damage to the Swiss location.

The National Council also agreed with this yesterday. The initiative sought to reduce the spread of incomes and to require by law that in a company the highest salary should not be more than twelve times the lowest salary (Should the incomes of top managers in Switzerland be capped?). In the National Council, however, there was a long discussion about the proposal, which was rejected by 110 votes to 59 with 2 abstentions.

Oskar Freysinger of the SVP also closed the debate – with humor, as he said – with a "goodbye" "Fable" whose moral was: "It will not warm a bit, make the rich poor." Although many of those who rejected the initiative also said that excesses had occurred. Individual black sheep are criticized. Philipp Muller (FDP) declared on behalf of the majority of the commission that the initiative was an intervention "an interference in the economic freedom incompatible with our principles". Thomas Maier of the Grunliberals rejects the income cap and also refers to Fubballer:

Imagine a football club that is internationally successful – let’s say FC Basel, as a Zurcher I’m happy to take them as an example. As you know, footballers often receive million-dollar salaries. However, an FC usually also includes ancillary operations, a junior staff department, security and cleaning personnel. And now? Do you want to cap footballers’ wages at say 400,000 francs? Yes, that is a lot of money. Without wanting to start a discussion about whether this is a fair wage for playing football: You know yourself that Swiss football can then sign off internationally, unless you employ the footballers of the first team in a separate company.

The main argument, however, is always that tying the salaries of the highest earners in a company to the lower income brackets would lead to companies moving their headquarters out of the country and using all possible means to circumvent this. The worldwide competition for the best heads is cited. The business location would be endangered as well as jobs. For Peter Spuhler of the SVP, it is clear: "What has made Switzerland and the Swiss economy great and strong?? What has led to our becoming one of the richest countries in the world?? A liberal economic order with a flexible labor market!" Ruedi Noser of the FDP is not stingy with valid arguments:

From the most liberal economic state in Europe, on which our entire prosperity, but also redistribution and also social partnership is built, the initiative turns us into the North Korea of Europe: economically isolated, but all equal – all equally poor.

The Jusos speak of a "Happy day for rip-off artists" and continue to pretend to fight: "The burgerliche majority does not want effective measures against the Abzockerei and places itself behind those managers, who see our society as a self-service store."

In the Bundestag there was once again talk of envy and expropriation

At the same time, there were also discussions in the Bundestag about property taxes and a property levy. The Greens had submitted a bill for a one-time wealth tax for the richest 1 percent, which would raise 100 billion euros in order to reduce the tax burden "reduce the increase in public debt caused by the financial and economic crisis" to make possible. It would affect German citizens with a total wealth of more than one million euros, with numerous other exemptions and restrictions. "Even the rich need a state that is capable of acting. To do this, we must reduce the national debt, and to do this, the wealthy in our country must pay a fair share", said Jurgen Trittin of the Grunen.

Christian Freiherr von Stetten (CDU/CSU) criticized the plan as "partial expropriation by the state" and from a "Envy discussion". Sigmar Gabriel (SPD) argued in favor of a one-time wealth tax rather than a "the increase of the top tax rate to 49 percent from an income of 100,000 euros per person" and also for "Re-introduction of the property tax". Volker Wissing (FDP) did the Liberals credit:

They believe that if everyone had it equally bad, then that would be justice. We say: We must help the weak and make them strong, but we must not look with envy at those who are already doing well.

The Greens at least managed to get their proposal passed on to the committees. As expected, the Left’s draft bill on redistributing wealth – in Germany and Europe has come to a standstill. It was also more demanding or, as you like, more mabless. Against the backdrop of the German government’s poverty report, which addressed the growing polarization of society, there are calls not only for a correction of the national debt caused by the financial crisis, but also for a correction of the distribution of wealth. The German government is called upon to lobby EU-wide for a wealth tax on private net assets of more than one million and to implement this in Germany as well. In addition, the wealth tax is to be reintroduced, and at the same time the tax on income is to be abolished "private banking sector" should be nationalized.

Gregor Gysi (Left Party): "Mr. von Stetten, you say here that you are against redistribution – you permanently organize a redistribution from the bottom to the top! Why don’t you make a top-down! It is high time for that in our society. I am also tired of the fact that those who have caused the crisis and are earning money from it are not being asked to pay a single additional euro, but that people who have nothing to do with it are having to pay for the whole thing. Exactly that is not justified." Already the rebuttal of Daniel Volk (FDP): " I know that you like to work with statistics. But just go out and ask the people! Ask the small worker how happy he is about this government policy, how happy he is that he doesn’t have to fear for his job, that he has been relieved of taxes and social security contributions! This is the merit of this Christian-Liberal coalition."

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