“Parliamentary box of tricks,” what an ARD journalist amusingly called a Green party Bundestag M.P.’s attack on the new coalition’s proposal to not reduce current workers’ monthly contributions to government pension plans as required by law and agreed by the previous government, now that the pensions’ coffers are full, but instead to use the additional income to fund pension reforms such as giving pension points to mothers for each child born before 1992. (German mothers weren’t receiving points for non-earning time spent caring for children born before 1992, one of many reasons why elder poverty primarily affects women even in wealthy welfare states.) The Green M.P. said everyone approving the proposal would be increasing their own mother’s pension, and thus any “yes” votes weren’t disinterested.
Not reducing the contributions by the 0.6% of income scheduled for 2014 means working people’s pension contributions will remain at 18.9% of their gross income, even when their income is very low. Yet about 7 million of Germany’s current ~42 million workers, including e.g. judges, bureaucrats, many self-employed people and Bundestag members, are exempted from having to make these pension contributions. Thus the second point of the Green party member’s criticism, that any M.P.’s voting to not reduce pension contributions would be helping their own mothers and grandmothers on other people’s dime, at no cost to themselves.
Update on 21 Feb 2014: The grosse Koalition voted to increase mothers’ pensions at the same time it voted to give itself a pay raise of ~10% in 2014.
(PAH lah men TAH rish ah T-R-R-RICK kiss tah.)