Christian Lindner’s wedding: A typical German envy debate

Christian Lindner’s wedding: A typical German envy debate
Christian Lindner (FDP) and his wife Franca Lehfeldt on Sylt

In Germany, every political dispute about the distribution of wealth follows the same pattern.

(Photo: dpa)

If one could operate a power plant with envy, Germany would no longer have to beg for gas from all over the world. Anyone who follows the stories about the marriage of Christian Lindner and Franca Lehfeldt cannot come to any other conclusion.

The magazine “Stern” even does a cover story about the celebrity event on Sylt. The Federal Minister of Finance can be seen in a tuxedo and his wife in a wedding dress. Friedrich Merz flies in in the golden jet, and the Chancellor laughs out of the window of the plane. Of course, it’s not about not begrudge the FDP leader the wedding. Everything revolves around the right time for the wedding in times of the gas crisis and the looming recession.

A poor explanation. Of course, Lindner and Lehfeldt could have waited a few years until inflation had returned to the ECB’s target of two percent and the war in Ukraine was over. Or the celebration would have been moved to a Berlin beer hermitage. Meatballs and potato salad. Sometimes it doesn’t taste bad either.

However, not a single problem in Germany would have been solved. But then the cover stories would probably have been: “Lindner broke? Can he no longer afford his Porsche?”

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But in the end it is about a classic German debate. Americans love rags-to-riches stories. In the US, nobody has to hide or belittle how they got their house, car and boat.

Salaries are still a taboo subject in Germany. If one or one earns more than the others and word gets around, it disturbs the peace in the company. But the great equality is a real brake on growth. Ambition needs incentives. Achievement must be worthwhile. Can one still say that in times when everything and anything is justified with one’s origin and the lack of opportunities? By the way, Lindner comes from a humble background and made it into this high state office.

After free beer for everyone comes the big hangover

In Germany, every political dispute about the distribution of wealth follows the same pattern. If the state needs money, calls for a higher top tax rate, more inheritance tax and the introduction of wealth tax are not far away. But anyone who advocates a basic income or even a basic inheritance is considered a creative mind who creates opportunities for people’s talents and thus boosts the economy.

But after free beer for everyone, the big hangover usually comes. Then you’d rather have a glass of champagne on Sylt on the most beautiful day of your life.

More: How fair is Germany? These economists argue about inequality, wealth tax – and 30,000 euros for each


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