Government Plan Resolved – “Placebo” vs. “Voodoo”: Aid Package Dispute


Part of the anti-inflation package presented by the government last week was approved in the National Council on Thursday afternoon. While government factions praised the measures as effective against record inflation, the SPÖ and FPÖ criticized. The NEOS responded positively, but sees parts as missed. On the government bench, Finance Minister Magnus Brunner, Vice Chancellor Werner Kogler and Social Affairs Minister Johannes Rauch (both Groen) defended the package as accurate.

The decision in the special session of the National Council was taken with the votes of the government factions ÖVP and Greens. This includes the uniform climate bonus and an extra one-off payment against inflation of a total of 500 euros per person. There is also a one-off benefit for minimum pensioners, the unemployed and recipients of student grants of EUR 300. In addition, a supplement of 180 euros on the child benefit is planned for August. In addition, the introduction of CO2 pricing will be postponed from July to October.

Other parts of the coalition’s anti-inflation package will not be implemented until after the summer. It concerns the planned abolition of “cold run” from January 2023 and the planned value changes of social benefits, such as family and study benefits, starting next year.

“More placebo than real effect”
If it’s up to SPÖ boss Pamela Rendi-Wagner, none of this is worth much. Because there’s nothing in the package that dampens the price, she explains. Rendi-Wagner denounced that no price would fall – “not even by a cent”. It is about half-hearted symptom control – “more placebo than real effect” The Social Democratic chairman would have liked it if the “unjustified surplus profits” of the energy companies were skimmed or if taxes on food and fuel were lowered.

FPÖ chairman Herbert Kickl also accused the government of doing nothing to lower prices. The main focus of his speech was to condemn the sanctions against Russia, which did not hinder Moscow, but which the Austrians had to pay for because of the government’s “false morality”. The discharge presented is, in turn, just “half-baked patchwork”.

Wöginger: SPÖ .’s “Voodoo Economy”
VP club manager August Wöginger replied that the reduction in the tax on mineral oil in Germany was a bad joke because it hadn’t even reached consumers. The SPÖ’s proposals came from the “voodoo economy”. The government, on the other hand, is helping quickly and purposefully, Wöginger emphasized, pointing to what is yet to come, such as abolishing cold progression.

NEOS Club Vice Nikolaus Scherak is not so sure this will come to pass, as the ÖVP has once again left a back door open with the desire for a constitutional provision. In addition, he wants a retroactive settlement and that the cold progression be abolished in its entirety and not just partially. What bothers him about the package is that there are too many bonuses and coupons that are poured out with the watering can. Scherak described adjustments to cost of living and one-time payments as “correct”.

By 2026, no less than 28 billion would be raised against inflation, Green Club chairman Sigrid Maurer also praised the package. She cited Austria’s dependence on Russian gas as one of the main reasons for the current problem, for which the Red Chancellor of the past is just as responsible as the heads of government of the ÖVP and the liberal ministers. To this day, FP boss Kickl is still sitting on the lap of the “ruthless aggressor” Vladimir Putin.

Kogler: targeted help
Vice Chancellor Kogler (Greens) and Finance Minister Brunner (ÖVP) also defended the package. Kogler did not deny that one could also think of lowering VAT or price ceilings. However, there is a risk that “only a small part or nothing will be passed on,” he told the opposition. With the current package, they want to help as targeted and as quickly as possible, he emphasized. In regards to the criticism that not all points are run at once, Kogler said that if you did everything at once, “it would be a single inflationary warming program.”

Brunner also spoke of a “fair, balanced and accurate package”. Money is not distributed with a watering can, but specific account is taken of the individual population and income groups. Minister of Social Affairs Johannes Rauch (Greens) argued the same. Convinced it was “a big project”, he refused to criticize the opposition.

Source: Krone


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