The NEOS member of the National Council Gerald Loacker is always good for sharp statements, he masters the game of provocation. However, he has gone too far with his recent Facebook posts.
The facts first: As various studies and analysis show, the current price hike is giving many people a headache. According to an APA survey in July, 49 percent of those surveyed are concerned about heating their homes during the winter. A good half stated that they had to cut back on their daily expenses.
Many cannot build on an adequate financial buffer, due in no small part to the pandemic: a survey by Statistics Austria, which surveyed more than 3,500 people in Austria in the first quarter of 2022, reveals the dire financial situation of many households. According to this data, more than two million Austrians had to record income losses compared to the previous 12 months. The consequences are dramatic: 1.7 million people in the country cannot afford to pay unexpected expenses of more than 1,300 euros. More than 770,000 people cannot fulfill even small wishes, such as going to the cinema. And 476,000 people even lack the financial means to eat appropriate and healthy.
NEOS National Councilor Gerold Loacker apparently lives in his own perceptual reality. Referring to a “Standard” article (“I never want to work full-time again”), he posted this remarkable sentence: “There is no staff. People don’t want to work anymore. And then they are low earners, they become like ‘needy’ considered and get hundreds from the state.” To add a little later: “… the taxes are so high that it (note: work) no longer pays. The social benefits are so high that it no longer pays.”
This, in turn, upset the Vorarlberg Greens member of the state parliament, Sandra Schoch: “In times of rising prices, reports of excessive social benefits show a corresponding picture of people.” Schoch’s party colleague Nadine Kasper, also a member of the state parliament, was even clearer in her post: “That’s just neoliberal nonsense.” One can indeed see it that way.