Germany should start handing out €20,000 in cash to citizens when they turn 18 years of age, a government minister has argued.
Carsten Schneider, the minister responsible for the ex-Communist East area of the country, has claimed that the so-called “basic inheritance” would help ease regional differences in income.
“I support the idea of a basic inheritance: all 18-year-olds should receive up to €20,000 as starting capital from the state,” he told Rheinische Post, saying that the move would “somewhat reduce the wealth inequality between rich and poor”.
The Social Democratic Party (SPD) politician said such cash handouts could be funded with a bumped-up tax on inheritance targeting the country’s millionaires.
The money may also serve the purpose of rescuing the SPD’s polling numbers, with the party losing much ground in both the East and West to the right-wing populist Alternative für Deutschland (AfD).
The AfD has become particularly strong in the ex-Communist parts of Germany, with the party regularly topping the polls in the former GDR.
With the populist Alternative für Deutschland party garnering greater support, the former German Chancellor went on to instruct Germans to express their “criticism and anger in other ways”. https://t.co/QdS5Vl7QOZ
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) October 2, 2023
Schneider, who was born and raised in the now-defunct state, claimed that the party’s greater success in the region did not reveal some inherent flaw in the people living there, simply that the SPD was more successful in the East to begin with.
“The AfD poll numbers are rising everywhere in Germany. It just started from a lower base in the West,” he said.
He went on to describe the party as being one of the “enemies of democracy”, describing it as a “threat to social cohesion, stability, progress and prosperity in Germany”.
“It incites hatred against minorities and endangers our future.”
Such stark warnings do not appear to be reaching the ears of many Germans at the moment. The AfD is now regularly breaking records in both regional and national polling.
Some legacy parties fear areas of the country will become ungovernable without their support in regional parliaments, raising problems due to many political groups in the country swearing oaths never to work with the AfD.
Germany’s main opposition leader Friedrich Merz backtracks to say that any form of cooperation with the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) is ruled out. https://t.co/T1UjZ6oOlw
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) August 29, 2023