Hardly chosen, Achim Truger suggests criticism from his colleagues. That does not seem to bother him: in many ways he now takes counter positions.
The new economic way Achim Truger was just nominated, since he was already harsh criticism against. And of all of his new colleagues in the German Council of Economic Experts, Isabel Schnabel and Lars Feld. They directly doubted his scientific qualifications. At a meeting in a Berlin cafe Truger tries to react to the argument with humor. "My mother-in-law always says: Do not fret, just wonder!" One should measure him by his deeds as an expert.
The economist wants to leave no doubt about his qualifications: "I have a list of publications of 30 pages, advise parliaments and made economic forecasts for 20 years.
Truger's predecessor, Peter Bofinger, who had also been nominated by the unions, had often objected to other rather ordinary liberal economies. In the interview, Truger also takes counter positions that his colleagues are unlikely to like. "The top tax rate can rise by a few percentage points without causing any economic problems," said Truger South German newspaper, "The tax system is unfair, with the top 30 percent paying less today than they were 20 years ago, the bottom 70 percent more."
The German Council of Economic Experts halved its economic forecast for this year on Tuesday – to just 0.8 percent. Truger calls for higher government investment to prevent an impending downturn. For this he wants to change the debt brake anchored in the Basic Law. "I would exempt investments from the debt brake, which is doubtful anyway." There is no justification for a deficit at this level. "We have to avoid austerity measures if the economy crashes, or things will go awry." The state must spend more on streets and schools, lack of housing.
Truger advocates more flexibility in the Stability Pact, which today is only upheld at the price of social upheaval. "You should not count on investments to deficit and not insist on total debt of 60 percent of the economic performance. It is enough to keep the current level." It should not give a carte blanche for the euro countries to do what they wanted. "But keeping things that way threatens Europe at its core."
Truger welcomes the new social state concept of the SPD. "I attribute the crash of the SPD back to Agenda 2010, and many have lost the confidence that it works for small people." The new concept seems to arrive. "I think it's also economically correct: Longer unemployment benefit combined with qualification protects against risks." Those who quickly fall for Hartz IV, take jobs in need, for which he is overqualified.
Read the whole interview with SZ Plus: