Comment: Alarm alone is not enough, concrete contingency plans are needed

The government’s warnings must be followed quickly by concrete plans, because an alarm level is not yet a policy, says Jörg Quoos.

It’s not often that one Federal Minister of Finance strikes such tones. “Five years of shortages”, a “very worrying situation”, the threat of a “very serious economic crisis”.

What Christian Lindner formulated on the late evening news was a political profit warning with a wooden hammer. Even the last stupid optimist should understand: Germany is threatened with a very big one as a result of the Ukraine war crisis.

Energy shortages and high levels are particularly serious inflation. As if that wasn’t enough, there are also the consequences of Corona and supply chain problems – a mix that inspires respect. Lindner’s alarm call did not fail to have an effect. Now the only question that remains is: what now, Minister of Finance?




As important as an honest announcement from the federal government is, such cassandra calls can be double-edged. The markets thrive on psychology and optimism, so such a warning never goes unnoticed. Christian Lindner knows that, so it is to be feared that the economic prospects are actually quite dark are.


Populist campaigns, such as a tank discount, are no longer allowed

Since alarm calls are not yet political, the traffic light must now follow suit and develop contingency plans that take effect quickly, that the citizens understand and that they can support. It may populist actions such as a tank discount, which only the oil multinationals rich and happy, give no more. If anything, the weakest must be given targeted help. A watering can principle that costs billions is neither sensible nor financially viable over a longer period of crisis.

If Germany is now preparing for a major crisis, the government should not underestimate the common sense of the governed. Many are ready, themselves to save energyif jobs and prosperity can be preserved as a result.

After all, it’s not a restriction of comfort if the bathroom water heater doesn’t heat up for 24 hours or if you don’t press the gas pedal to the floor on the freeway. Also the debate about a limited term extension of the active ones nuclear power plants should be conducted with honest arguments and open-ended in view of the dramatic shortage of energy. In any case, ideological trench warfare from the last century does not help with the current problems.

This much is certain: if the big crisis really comes, the state will not be able to deal with it alone. Then the country must stand together, as it has done so many times before. After the fall of the wall, after 9/11, in the strenuous corona pandemic.

Crisis as a test and opportunity for traffic lights

However, it would be poison if politicians now tried to outdo each other with economic pessimism. There were always crises, and they were overcome more quickly when optimism and belief in one’s own strength were stronger than pessimism and anxiety. It is not a truism when it is said that crises can also be an opportunity. Provided you understand and use them in good time.

So now may be the time for charismatic personalities who leadership and also have the courage to take uncomfortable but effective measures. The dark scenario can also be seen as a test and opportunity for the traffic light, which is already faintly sparkling six months after it started.

This article first appeared on waz.de.


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