Bundestagswahl 2017

2017 is a mega election year for Europe. After the Netherlands, France and possibly Italy, Germany, too, will go to the polls with the federal elections taking place on September 24. Until then, some second-order polls in German Länder will be held in addition. Chancellor Merkel (CDU) is campaigning for her fourth term with the former president of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, as her contender (SPD). Key issues will be Europe’s response to Trump, Brexit and its own centrifugal forces. Domestically social justice and security are likely to dominate the debate.



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Germany’s fiscal situation: Full employment and zero interest rates result in budget surpluses – but demographic development might become a problem!
Abstract: In an international comparison, Germany’s fiscal situation is very good – thanks to robust GDP growth and zero interest rates. In the short to medium term, dynamic revenue growth should help to ensure that Germany’s fiscal situation remains comfortable, even though expenses look set to rise strongly as well. Public finances are currently benefiting from buoyant growth, low interest rates and a “demographic respite”. Rising interest rates and the ageing society look set to put the public finances under considerable pressure from the middle of the coming decade. However, the long-term fiscal risks do not appear to play a major role in the current election campaign.
Topics: Demographics; Economic policy; Fiscal policy; Macroeconomics; Politics and elections; Real econ. trends
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Parteien schreiben Zukunftsvorsorge zu klein
Abstract: Die sozialpolitische Debatte in Deutschland ist erscheint paradox. Trotz steigender Sozialausgaben konstatieren manche Kritiker eine soziale Schieflage. Aber der Sozialschutz wirkt weithin, während die Sozialsystem profitieren von der guten Konjunktur. Auch für die Zukunft scheint eine weitere Expansion des Sozialstaates angelegt, wenn man an die demografische Entwicklung denkt und zugleich die Vorschläge der Parteien im Wahlkampf betrachtet. Zukunftsvorsorge der Sozialsysteme spielt nur die zweite Geige, obwohl den Steuer- und Beitragszahlern schon jetzt vermeidbare Belastungen aufgebürdet werden.
Topics: Demographics; Economic policy; Germany; Macroeconomics; Politics and elections; Provision for old age; Social policy
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Parties not focusing enough on sustainability
Abstract: The debate over welfare policy in Germany appears to be paradoxical. Albeit steadily rising social spending, some critics believe that there is a social imbalance. But social security continues to have a positive impact while the welfare system is benefiting from the positive economic development. A further expansion of the welfare state is in the cards given not only the demographic trend but also the parties’ proposals in the current election campaigns. Sustainability of the welfare system is playing second fiddle only despite the fact that already taxpayers are burdened with avoidable costs.
Topics: Demographics; Economic policy; Germany; Macroeconomics; Politics and elections; Provision for old age; Social policy
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Slowing German trend growth does not seem to be a major issue in the electoral campaign
Abstract: The developed industrial countries have experienced a steady decline in trend growth since the mid-70s – and Germany is no exception. The robust cyclical upswing is veiling this creeping erosion of growth. The demographic developments will considerably weigh on trend growth in the medium and the longer term. They will dampen labour supply, capital formation and total factor productivity. By 2025, trend growth looks set to halve again, to only ¾%. The electoral programmes of the established parties incorporate different positions on this key issue, as is to be expected.
Topics: Demographics; Economic growth; Education; Labour market; Macroeconomics; Politics and elections; Real econ. trends
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Deutsche Staatsfinanzen: Überschüsse dank Vollbeschäftigung und Nullzins, aber Demografie droht!
Abstract: Die deutschen Staatsfinanzen stehen derzeit im internationalen Vergleich sehr gut da, dank starker Konjunktur und Nullzinsen. Die günstige Entwicklung der deutschen Staatsfinanzen dürfte kurz- bis mittelfristig aufgrund dynamisch wachsender Staatseinnahmen – und trotz hohem Ausgabenwachstum – andauern. Die Staatsfinanzen profitieren derzeit sehr stark von einer brummenden Wirtschaft, Niedrigzinsen und einer „demografischen Atempause“. Steigende Zinsen und eine alternde Gesellschaft dürften die öffentlichen Finanzen ab Mitte der nächsten Dekade erheblich unter Druck setzen. Doch die langfristigen Risiken für die Staatsfinanzen scheinen im aktuellen Bundestagswahlkampf keine größere Rolle zu spielen.
Topics: Demographics; Economic policy; Fiscal policy; Macroeconomics; Politics and elections; Real econ. trends
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Sinkendes deutsches Trendwachstum zu wenig im Fokus der Parteien
Abstract: In vielen entwickelten Industrienationen hat sich das Trendwachstum seit Mitte der 70er Jahre deutlich abgeschwächt – so auch in Deutschland. Gegenwärtig überstahlt die dynamische Konjunktur diese schleichende Wachstumsschwäche. In diesem Zusammenhang ist der demografische Wandel für die deutsche Volkswirtschaft von besonderer Bedeutung. Er wird die Entwicklung des Erwerbspersonenpotentials, des Kapitalstocks und des technischen Wissens dämpfen. Bis 2025 dürfte sich das deutsche Trendwachstum somit nochmals halbieren auf dann nur noch 3/4 %. Daher sind die politischen Entscheidungsträger mehr denn je gefordert, dieser tiefgreifenden Entwicklung Rechnung zu tragen. Die Wahlprogramme und das bisherige Handeln der etablierten Parteien zeigen zu diesem zentralen Thema erwartungsgemäß unterschiedliche Positionen.
Topics: Demographics; Economic growth; Education; Labour market; Macroeconomics; Politics and elections; Real econ. trends
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NRW election positive for Merkel
Topics: Politics and elections
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Germany: Impressive CDU victory in the Saarland
Who is afraid of populists?
Abstract: With developments in the UK and the US, populism was a key theme in 2016. But does the perception of 2016 as “the year of the populists” really fit for Europe? A closer look suggests that while populism was an omnipresent theme in public discourse, support for populist parties in polls rather remained stable and elections did not translate into outright populist wins. The rise of populist parties has however been a multi-year trend. Populists can affect national politics in various ways. One possible effect is that forming a government (coalition) often gets more complicated and time-consuming and results in more fragile governments. Another is populists’ potential impact on policy discussions’ style and content. Pursuing policies with long-term benefits but which are often not instantly popular becomes more difficult ‒ both at the national and the European level.
Topics: Brexit; Economic policy; European integration; European issues; European policy issues; Politics and elections
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Unemployment benefit Q and the elusive quest for social justice
Abstract: Time to enhance (social) justice is the election campaign slogan of the SPD and its leadership candidate, Martin Schulz. To bring this slogan to life the chancellor candidate and the Federal Minister for Labour, Andrea Nahles, recently presented plans for specific labour market policy measures. The duo is proposing that the existing unemployment benefit be extended to include an additional component and that the eligibility criteria be relaxed. The idea of the new benefit Q (for qualification) is to grant registered recipients the right to participate in qualification programmes. It could double the benefit period – for younger jobseekers from one to two years and for those aged 58 and above from two to four years.
Topics: Labour market policy; Politics and elections; Social policy
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Bundestagswahl 2017
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