We wish you all the best, good health and many happy hours in the coming year 2024.
When you look back on 2023 and read the forecasts for 2024, you don't know whether to cry or laugh. It's not just the global wars, armed unrests and other problems, it's also the new high costs for imports from China due to the bombardment of ships in the Red Sea, which are causing us considerable problems, astonishment at the numerous demonstrations against the AfD party, the farmers' tractor parades, train drivers' strikes and much more.
It would be too cheap to judge the government. Those who are already on the ground should not be kicked! Because a lot of things were already laid in their cradle by the previous government. But - in two years of government, one could have expected more wrong decisions to be corrected. But adding party ideologies on top of existing problems was certainly not a wise decision.
And just after surviving the coronavirus pandemic, when everyone was happy to have come out of this global epidemic unscathed and was actually expecting better times, things went from bad to worse. It is no wonder that voter sentiment has changed dramatically.
A poor international economic situation, falling exports, unexpectedly high inflation, ever new laws that are almost crushing us (e.g. the Supply Chain Act), a shortage of skilled workers and high energy prices are a heavy burden that we now have to live under.
But the general dissatisfaction must not lead us being seduced into making wrong political decisions - even if only out of spite. Democracy is a delicate plant and there are too many dictatorships or quasi-dictatorships - see Hungary. Poland is currently fighting hard to wrestle theirs back down. We have been in a critical situation before, in the 1930s. Back then, there was extreme unemployment that caused voters to vote for the wrong party and we slid into dictatorship.
The Weimar Republic was too weak, and farmers have also protested in the recent weeks, not only because of the agricultural diesel, but also because decades of bureaucracy and ever new regulations have placed an extreme burden on the individual's freedom of movement and threaten to destroy entire livelihoods. The bureaucracy caused by new laws and party ideologies and the constant paternalism must stop. Let's hope that politicians will now become more understanding and that the economy and the population can recover. Climate change will still cause us enough problems that need to be overcome.
Let me end with a quote from Martin Luther: If I knew that the world would end tomorrow, I would plant an apple tree today.
Stay optimistic! This year too! It can only get better!
Yours sincerely, Wolfgang Endrich
SUBSIDIES - THE SINS OF LOBBYISM!
An article in the magazine "Der Steuerzahler" issue 11/2023 reveals more than astonishing sins of our politics. Germany is by far the European subsidy champion in Europe with currently 54 billion euros!
This means that Germany exceeds the total subsidies of France, Italy and Spain combined. The subsidy report shows that grants (subsidies and tax concessions) totalling more than 122 billion euros was awarded in 2021. Followed at a considerable gap by France with 63 billion, Italy with just under 32 billion and Spain with around 20 billion, and this with an official federal budget of 336.4 billion euros!
Subsidies are state expenditure on industry and population groups that do not have to be repaid. Interest-free, non-degressive and unfortunately without an expiry date. This means that once they have been granted, they are also paid out in the following year. In the Covid19virus era, many sectors certainly received these subsidies gratefully, which was good and useful, but without a time limit, they are continued from year to year until doomsday. They have no degressive structure, which means that they do not reduce over time and, above all, the funding goals are difficult to measure and monitor. The current necessity is also not reviewed!
Subsidy policy guidelines were even formulated in 2015. Meanwhile the amount has doubled from 63 to 138 pieces. The same applies to the tax concessions granted in the meantime.
As a result, we will have to shoulder an additional 48.7 billion for subsidies and 18.4 million for tax concessions in the federal budget for 2024.
Instead of the debt brake defended by Federal Finance Minister Lindner, however, the Climate and Transformation Fund (KTF), a debt-financed special fund outside the federal budget that now has to shoulder even more subsidies, has been chosen as the central playground for this. In this way, the federal budget can officially be kept free of billions in subsidy burdens and the debt brake can be formally adhered to. In 2024, 88% is to be handled via the KTF and only 12% via the traditional federal budget.
What industrial company can afford such accounting tricks? Respect for the more than 250 lobbyists who are antichambering the ministries on behalf of their clients every day. Subsidies or tax breaks have certainly been a tried and tested means during the Covid19 period to help depressed industries such as artists, the hospitality industry and other sectors to survive at all.
In 2023 and 2024, there will no longer be any need to pay these subsidies, as the cultural sector is thriving and many other industries have also been able to say goodbye to the burdens and closures of the Corona19virus period. And now more billions are to be dumped on top of this mountain of debt, for example for energy? What's more, numerous subsidies are not even climate-neutral - on the contrary, they are actually harmful. The Greens should be fuming!
The main problem with subsidies is that they have not yet been reduced degressively and no finite date has been set for the expiry of such subsidies. Subsidies embellish every balance sheet and are a free extra income without the pressure of having to make an effort to manage without subsidies, for example by rationalising in companies or encouraging some recipients of the citizen's allowance to look for work. Unfortunately, our welfare state tempts some of our fellow citizens to abuse these achievements, which are laudable in themselves.
If I know correctly, there are currently up to 51 different ways for families to apply for help from the state.
It is actually quite normal to be confused by this multitude of options. It would certainly be appropriate to put an end to this confusion and bundle support so that we know exactly what amounts are available to each household. Digitalisation would also help. The Federal Republic of Germany is a patchwork of thousands of regulations, amendments and changes, which is already leading to an inability to move.
The consequences are citizens' disenchantment with the state and an urgent desire for change. We have imposed total immobility on ourselves. But who would trust our actual government to realise such an undertaking?
The majority of our population, as can be seen from the current election results, would like to see a dramatic simplification rather than new measures and regulations being imposed on them. It should come as no surprise that the man in the street no longer understands this confusion and wants an urgent end to it. This makes the call for a strong hand from marginalised groups in politics even more understandable.
The responsibility of civil servants for their decisions has also declined drastically, as the consultancy industry, which has to produce expensive expert opinions, is booming without equal. The expert opinions - usually also formulated by lobbyists - are intended to secure the government, members of parliament and civil servants in their decisions with as many expert opinions as possible and thus make them unassailable.
Yours, Wolfgang Endrich
(Source reference: Der Steuerzahler 11/2023)
Thank you very much for your trust and we look forward to continue our good cooperation!
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Do you still remember your school days? The biology class? What is photosynthesis?
It is the physical-chemical process that takes place in every plant and some bacteria, namely the conversion of water (H2O) and carbon dioxide (CO2) to glucose (C6H1206) and oxygen (O2) under the influence of sunlight. Without this process, which applies to all plants and thus also trees on this earth, there would be no oxygen in the atmosphere and thus no life on earth.
That is why we urgently need green meadows and forests for our life. And if you reverse this process, i.e. burn wood, for example, the process takes place in reverse, so to speak, i.e. carbon dioxide is produced, among other things. Carbon dioxide is one of the causes that triggered the climate change. In addition, when wood is burned, fine dust emissions are produced, which are particularly harmful to the lungs and just as harmful as those produced by road traffic and industry. Furthermore, in addition to the toxic carbon monoxide, the gases methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide are also produced, with methane and nitrous oxide contributing 25 and 298 times more to global warming than the same amount of carbon dioxide.
The Federal Environment Agency therefore finds the promotion of pellet heating, as envisaged in the new Building Energy Act (GEG), not particularly desirable (according to information in the Stuttgarter Zeitung of early September'23). It is concluded that it is not positive for our ecological balance. The forests, they say, are far too important for our ecosystem.
About 1.1 million households in Germany use any kind of wood in the form of logs, wood pellets or wood chips for heating in boilers. Furthermore, there are 11.2 million households in which so-called single-room fireplaces, for example fireplaces or tiled stoves, are installed, which could be detrimental to improving our climate balance.
Add to this the forest fires here in Germany as well as in Greece, Italy, Spain and especially in Canada, which have already had a considerable impact on the environment and continue to do so. Unfortunately, the timber industry, e.g. in Brazil, does not like to hear this, where huge amounts of forest land are still being converted into pasture land for cattle breeding, or in Romania, for example, where huge areas of forest are being cut down to produce cheap furniture.
With all the understanding for the use of natural resources, one unfortunately forgets that a forest may be quickly cleared, but it takes decades until it grows back again or no thought is even given to reforestation.
A sad example are countries with bare mountains, especially in the whole Mediterranean area, e.g. Greece, where the coveted cedar and oak wood was needed for the huge fleets in the Middle Ages and no one thought about what consequences this would have for posterity. The fertile soil was washed away, leaving only rocks.
For thousands of years, mankind has committed unconscionable overexploitation of the treasures of our nature. The climate balance could only be described as balanced if a corresponding amount of wood could grow back in time. But this has not happened at all in the last two millennia, especially in the last century.
Germany is also a sad example of how forests have been sacrificed to increasing agriculture. Just think of the original Black Forest or the impenetrable forests in northern Germany that served our ancestors as protection against the Roman military.
Environmental awareness has been steadily reduced in our thinking and the cutting down of forests is perceived as a completely natural process. We have sung about the beautiful forest in poems and songs, but the subject of reforestation to protect the environment has not been an issue for us in the last 2,000 years.
Only the clear change in our climate, the increasing global warming have abruptly jolted us out of our reverie. The clearly visible changes in the environment, the melting of the glaciers in the Alps or at the North and South Poles, the flood disasters, etc. were necessary to wake up humanity and take note of the overexploitation of nature and try to put a stop to it.
The inventions of nuclear power and the use of the wind and solar industries were beneficial inventions that were unfortunately unnecessarily slowed down and hindered in their effect by hysterical political decisions (e.g. ending the use of nuclear power) or the egoism of some fellow citizens (that wind turbines would disfigure the landscape). Not to mention the many regulations, so that, for example, it takes six years to get an approval for a wind turbine!
Unfortunately, the political decision-makers in our government have not been any smarter than the voters either, and have now caused us to engage in an extreme race against time to prevent or at least contain even greater damage to our country's energy supply for industry and households. Any law that sustainably reduces global warming is good, but the new Building Energy Act which is driven by ideologies, is inherently bad.
If you ban lignite and hard coal, wood and pellets have to be banned too!
Every newly planted tree needs approx. 40-50 years to form the wood mass that makes felling profitable!
But: An old tree produces about 1,000 kg of oxygen per year (enough for 10 people), and can filter up to 1,000 kg of dust, bacteria and fungal spores from the air! Therefore, "afforestation" of cities and communities is also important.
It‘s a pity that not all people know that!
„WE CAN DO IT“
The saying and the author are well known. The reason was the stream of refugees who suddenly came to Germany to find work and live in peace under the protection of a democratic state.
We know that this integration has not worked out until today and has failed, for example, because of the resistance of population groups that have strictly rejected mixing with refugees from Afghanistan, from Africa, for racist and other reasons. One of the most nonsensical arguments is that they take jobs away from Germans.
Funny, foreigners are very welcome in Bundesliga soccer clubs. At the same time, we have 2 million unfilled jobs today and no idea who to fill them with.
We have an aging population, the "baby boomers" are retiring, retirement at 64 is possible. There is a large exodus from the labor market. Who should / can fill these jobs? And then there is the idea of a four-day week? Where are the workers supposed to come from?
The opponents of immigration have no solution for this. Perhaps they also don't know that this could also become a very big problem for them, because companies that want to expand will inevitably have to relocate their manufacturing operations abroad, and this threatens layoffs in Germany in the long term, especially in the lower income brackets.
This means that companies are cutting staff and the prosperity of our country is declining. In addition, there is inflation, which was deliberately triggered by the Bundesbank and especially by the European Central Bank under Mr. Draghi in order to bring lending rates to zero and thus to cheaply finance the debt of the southern European countries (Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal). Fortunately, this has already succeeded in Greece.
Now, lending rates have begun to rise (at the beginning of August 23 the key interest rates were already at 4.25%) and has stifled the construction industry again and forced many home builders to give up their dreams of owning a home to give up for the time being.
Two years ago, German voters made a decision that ultimately led to a traffic light government. Ministerial posts were determined according to proportional representation and not according to expertise. Just think of the former defense minister.
I wonder if you no longer need experience to be a politician. Every master craftsman has to prove six years of training in his trade, and in the "Ländle" you are not certified as having the necessary maturity and expertise until your 40th birthday.
Some politicians now want to change the electoral law and allow 16-year-olds to vote, some of whom may never have read a newspaper, whose political knowledge is certainly not sound. I am not sure that all young people at 16 know that there is a Basic Law and a three-tier division of powers in the legislative, executive and judiciary!
Some of the salary increases in recent months have reached exorbitant levels, certainly with good reason, because employees and workers have lost considerable purchasing power as a result of inflation, but this will then be reflected conversely in unavoidable price increases and cannot be compensated for in the short term by rationalization measures of any kind.
We all know that we still have an energy gap and have managed to get through the winter reasonably well due to the mild weather. But energy prices have increased enormously and will certainly eat up the higher income.
Our traffic light government wants to appease and promises subsidies. There are massive problems with counter-financing and it is actually not feasible at all because we no longer know who is in need or not as a result of a lack of digitalization in our administration.
Now the tax offices could certainly provide these figures if every German citizen had only one number - the tax number - and computers could be used to determine in minutes who is or is not included in the circle of the needy. To return briefly to the lack of energy: We have energy surpluses due to the wind farms in the North Sea, but we have to export them because we cannot transmit the electric current to the processing industry there due to the lack of lines to the south.
Nuclear power plants were completely closed for ideological reasons, even though we had the safest in the world and all the countries around us - starting with France, through Poland, Belgium, Switzerland, Holland, Hungary, etc. - are currently building new nuclear power plants.
Among other things, because they do not want to bury the nuclear waste at a depth of 4,000 meters in a radiationproof manner. The question may be asked: Where do our neighboring countries put their nuclear waste? How about the moon?
For many years there has been great opposition to wind turbines for sometimes flimsy reasons. Then, when in some cases the population of the communities was given a share in the yield of the wind turbines, there was only unanimous approval.
So why not do the same for power lines, which urgently need to be built to the south?
In Berlin and Brussels, they are constantly producing laws, probably as a manifestation of the raison d'être and occupational therapy of the deputies, which, however, is now forcing medium-sized companies to hire additional employees who have to fulfill the companies' reporting obligations in accordance with the law.
The hopeful words of our Chancellor Scholz, that in the future everything would become better, seems to me under these points of view nevertheless rather doubtful. Voters are becoming increasingly critical and are no longer being lulled into silence!
It would be my heartfelt wish that the politicians in the individual parties would not struggle with their ideologies, but seriously consider how they can quickly and effectively solve the existing problems of our country.And explain more to the voter why one decides how, point out and justify connections.
But this requires economic sense, respect, and not just the right party book, good connections, and ideological blindness.
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We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Thank you very much for your trust and for further good cooperation.
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