Rolling course instead of clarity

20 January 2020

Wealth tax, climate package, immigration policy - this is only a small part of the current course that politics is taking and thus deprives small and medium-sized businesses of any basis for planning security. Instead of clear guidelines and convictions, politics lives from the talent for improvisation in order to save itself from state election to state election. The bill for this is paid by the entrepreneurs of the middle class, who traditionally do not think in terms of election periods, but in terms of generations. At the same time, companies in Germany are facing increasingly fierce international competition, and Germany as a business location has long since ceased to be challenged only by the Far East, but increasingly by its European neighbours as well.

Planning security is therefore not only desirable, but a basic prerequisite for making far-reaching decisions and thus ensuring the long-term security of companies and jobs in Germany. A constant paradigm shift, which has appropriated almost all areas of our society as a sociological experimental laboratory, makes serious planning almost impossible. From questions of energy policy to taxes and housing construction, those responsible are turning their flag to the wind.

20 years ago, when I was responsible for the tax affairs of General Electric in Germany, it was about the abolition of the trade tax group. I can still remember how I had to explain to my colleagues in the U.S. that we had to re-decide the structure of our roughly 200 companies in Germany at the turn of the year. However, a decision by politicians was not made until the following year, but then of course retroactively to the structure of the previous year. We therefore had to make a decision without knowing the actual legal framework. I could well understand the lack of understanding of my international colleagues for this comedy of German legislation. Has anything improved in Germany in the meantime? At the moment I can only say: No improvement - exactly the opposite is the case!