Social Democrats

A Lone Striker

Bundeswirtschaftsminister Sigmar Gabriel (SPD) sitzt 05.06.2015 in Fellbach (Baden-Württemberg) bei einer Veranstaltung im Programm des deutschen evangelischen Kirchentags. Im Hintergrund halten Menschen bei einem Flashmob Schilder mit der Aufschrift "Stoppen Sie CETA!" und "Stoppen Sie TTIP". Bei der Veranstaltung mit dem Titel "Big Brother, Big Business, Big Family?" wird unter anderem über das Freihandelsabkommen TTIP gesprochen. Foto: Wolfram Kastl/dpa [ Rechtehinweis: usage Germany only, Verwendung nur in Deutschland ]
Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, leader of the Social Democratic Party.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Germany’s family entrepreneurs widely support Sigmar Gabriel, the leader of the Social Democrats, because of his pro-business views, but the capital-crushing policies of his fellow party members leave much to be desired.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Policies coming from the ministries of Economy and Labor oftentimes strangle each other because mid-level party functionaries have no exposure to the private sector.
    • The new minimum wage is flooding companies with bureaucracy.
    • Only refugees who obtain work will be fully integrated into German society.
  • Audio

    Audio

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Two years ago, the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) switched from the opposition to the government bench. Today it is engaging in self-congratulation at its party congress in Berlin. Evaluation of the first half of the game: the team has a striker who should be taken seriously; the other players tend to make own goals.

Parts of the SPD lack basic economic knowledge. Unfortunately, this lies in the nature of things: The party is scarcely represented in the Bundestag, Germany’s lower legislative chamber, through direct mandates (only 58 of 193 SPD seats), but in three out of four cases by list positions. The SPD had fewer direct mandates only when it was pursuing socialist goals before its adoption of the Godesberg Program in 1959, whereupon it came to advocate a market economy and national defense.

The candidates on the lists are selected not by voters, but primarily by mid-level, ideologically committed party functionaries who derive their income from the state or from the unions. They have little contact with the private economy that is constantly struggling to remain rooted on site while being buffeted by the storms of competition.

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