Policy Article

Aligning fiscal policy with foresight

Kieler Beiträge zur Wirtschaftspolitik, 30 Download

The authors note that, although public budgets showed significant surpluses before the Corona crisis, both revenues and expenditures had risen noticeably relative to economic output. They currently see it as a priority goal of fiscal policy to overcome the acute crisis, whereby the equity position of companies and the financial resources of local authorities should be considered by the federal government in view of the recovery. In doing so, the federal government is not obliged to take over the old debts. However, in accordance with the principle of connectivity, the federal government should pay for all services that it decides to provide without exception. In the medium term, if growth declines, the consolidation policy that will then be necessary should be based primarily on spending discipline and subsidy reduction rather than on an increase in the tax burden. Rather, in view of the intense international tax competition, the authors advocate using any room for maneuver that may exist to ease the burden on companies. For the financing of supraregional infrastructures, they recommend greater involvement of users. As a result of the Corona crisis, they see the reintroduction of the catch-up factor in pension insurance as necessary, which provides for lower pension adjustments in the aftermath of the crisis if a pension reduction that is actually due to the development of gross wages and salaries does not materialize. Moreover, federal grants should be clearly linked to non-insurance benefits and limited to these.