Are Democrats eager to redistribute wealth

What does which party stand for?


The origin of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) is part of the labor movement and goes back to the 19th century. In 2014 the SPD celebrated its 150th anniversary. "The question of social justice and equal rights is today (...) just as topical as ever," says the party program.

What it envisions for the coming legislative period, the SPD writes in its current election program for the federal election in 2021. Here are a few points for initial orientation:

Children / youth / family / women: The SPD wants to strengthen the rights of children and young people, for example by anchoring children's rights in the Basic Law. The voting age should drop to 16 years. Daycare centers should be free of charge and buses and trains for local transport should be free for children and young people. The SPD wants to introduce a so-called basic child security. This consists of a new child benefit that is graded according to the family's income - the higher the need for support, the higher the child benefit. The monthly base amount should be at least 250 euros. Daycare and school meals should be free. The ElterngeldPlus will be changed: If in couple families both parents work at the same time or single parents work a little less than full time, they should in future receive at least 200 and a maximum of 900 euros per ten months. The childhood sickness days should be increased to 20 days per child, year and parent - with more than two children a maximum of 45 days per parent and 90 days for single parents. Those who care for relatives should have a right to support (wage replacement) for 15 months in the event of a reduction in working hours.

The quota of women on supervisory boards is to be expanded to include all listed or co-determined companies, including the management levels under management. In addition, the party wants to legally safeguard various family models and equate homosexual, bisexual, trans, intersex and queer people. In addition, there should be communities of responsibility for everyone "whose life situation the classic marriage model does not suit." Same-sex partners should receive the same rights, especially in the case of adoption. The ban on discrimination based on gender and sexual identity should be anchored in the Basic Law.

Education / Research: With a federal program, disadvantages and learning backlogs among schoolchildren caused by the corona pandemic are to be eliminated: The federal government should invest money in school social work: for so-called opportunity helpers at every school. You can find more about education under “Digitization”. Public and private spending on research and development should increase to at least 3.5 percent. Research in the humanities, social and cultural sciences is specifically funded. The SPD wants to further develop the excellence strategy and supplement it with support for regional collaborations between universities and research institutions. "We want doctoral candidates to be paid for their actual working hours, regardless of the subject." There should be more funding for open science and science communication.

Digitalization: Every student should have a digital device and access to the Internet. All households and companies are guaranteed a "bandwidth of at least one gigabit per second". The SPD is creating a “social tariff for network access” for low-wage earners and students. Administrative services should be expanded digitally: Citizens should be able to use services voluntarily and in compliance with data protection with a "digital identity" without additional costs and extra equipment. Anyone who is entitled to a service should receive it as automatically as possible, i.e. without having to submit an application, or be able to apply for it in a simplified way “with one click”. The SPD wants to permanently promote computer games in digital education and e-sports should become non-profit.

Environment: Germany should be “completely climate neutral” by 2045 at the latest. That is what the SPD wants z. B. can be achieved by the traffic turnaround by 2030. This includes a mobility guarantee: The party wants everyone in Germany to have a connection to public transport close to their home, and to support models such as the 365-euro ticket or ticket-free local transport. New municipal buses and trains are to be climate-neutral by 2030. "We will introduce a speed limit of 130 km / h on federal motorways." Supermarkets, schools and town halls, for example, are to be equipped with solar systems, provided the roofs of public buildings are suitable. The party wants to make rail travel in Europe cheaper than flying. Electricity is to come entirely from renewable energies by 2040 at the latest, and financial flows are to be diverted for this purpose. The party wants “more speed in the expansion of the power grids, railway lines, hydrogen lines and charging stations for electric cars”. In a future pact between the federal government, the federal states, local authorities and central municipal associations, binding expansion targets for renewable energies such as sun, wind and geothermal energy are to be agreed. In the fight against garbage, the SPD wants to make manufacturers more responsible. The use of fertilizers and pesticides is to be reduced, a mandatory state animal welfare label to be introduced, and the transport of live animals to be limited to eight hours.

Economy / finance / social: The SPD relies on a socio-ecological restructuring of the economy and a strong welfare state. “Profit maximization and cost minimization” should “not be the measure of all things”. The federal government is to invest at least 50 billion euros per year, and old debts are taken from particularly highly indebted communities. Craft businesses should pay fewer fees, start-ups z. B. supported by public funds for venture capital. New rules are intended to make economic activities geared to the common good easier, for example for cooperatives. Key industries are supported on their way to climate neutrality by 2045 at the latest. “We will therefore align our agricultural subsidies in such a way that environmentally friendly agriculture can keep up with the competition.” Soil should be protected “from investors without any agricultural connection”. The SPD will "use the constitutionally possible leeway for borrowing". She wants to take consistent action against tax evasion, tax avoidance and tax fraud and gives concrete steps to do this. There is to be an income tax reform, "which better offsets small and medium-sized incomes, strengthens purchasing power and, in return, uses the top five percent more to finance important public tasks". A wealth tax and a financial transaction tax are to be introduced, and the inheritance tax is to be reformed. This is "unjust because it prefers wealthy corporate heirs".

It should be easier to declare collective agreements generally binding so that they apply to all employees and companies in an industry. The SPD wants to increase the statutory minimum wage "initially to at least twelve euros". Temporary workers should receive the same wages as permanent employees from the first day. The co-determination of employees is to be expanded, and a legal right to mobile work is to be introduced. The SPD wants to better protect solo self-employed. “We advocate a training guarantee.” A right to qualification by the Federal Employment Agency and a right to further training are to be introduced. More people should get BAföG, i.e. help under the Federal Training Assistance Act. Those who have paid in longer should also receive unemployment benefit I for longer in the future. "We reject a further increase in the statutory retirement age," says the program. The SPD wants to convert the statutory insurance (pension, health and long-term care insurance) into a "citizens' insurance" in which all workers are insured, including B. Civil servants. 100,000 new social housing are to be built every year, and the rental price brake is to be removed.

EU / International / Security: "Our goal is a permanent European seat and an adequate representation of the Global South in the Security Council of the United Nations ”, writes the SPD. In the EU she would like to change the rules for decisions. B. get more rights, foreign policy and tax issues should be decided by a majority - instead of unanimously as before. The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy “should become an EU Foreign Minister in the long term”. "Our goal remains a European army as part of the peace power Europe." At the same time, "the attractiveness of service in the Bundeswehr" should increase. The SPD wants to decide whether drones should be armed “only after a comprehensive political and social debate”. The asylum system is to be further Europeanized. Rescue at sea should not be criminalized, "but should also be guaranteed by the state through the EU". The SPD wants to advance disarmament, for example by fully implementing the international nuclear agreement with Iran. In the relationship with Russia, the party sees "repeated setbacks", but wants to "achieve joint progress with Russia on issues of common security, disarmament and arms control as well as on climate, sustainability, energy and the fight against pandemics". Europe must conduct the dialogue with China on cooperation and competition "closed, constructive and critical". "We will make Europe the first sustainable and greenhouse gas-neutral continent by 2050 at the latest," writes the SPD. To this end, financial flows should be redirected accordingly. The goal is a “real fiscal, economic and social union”. There should be European minimum wages and permanent European unemployment reinsurance. The aim is also a European capital market and the taxation of large digital corporations.

The SPD regards an agreement between the EU and the MERCOSUR confederation in Latin America as an “important project” in the area of ​​trade. "Environmental, human rights and social standards would have to be strengthened through additional binding and sanctionable review, implementation and enforcement mechanisms", otherwise the party would not agree.

Interior / Security: So that “children and young people grow up safely”, criminal law and prevention are to be better linked. "We need protection concepts with child protection officers for daycare centers, schools, youth welfare institutions and associations, among other things, and we will support this through pilot projects funded by the federal government". The structures of the security authorities are to be improved, for example through the continuation of the “Pact for the Rule of Law”. Together with the federal states, the SPD wants to advance "measures to protect against radicalization and deradicalization". A periodic safety report should be drawn up on a regular basis. The Federal Office for Information Security “as a central, independent and exclusively preventive cybersecurity authority” is to be strengthened.

In the area of ​​integration, the regulations for family reunification for those entitled to subsidiary protection are to be "brought back into line with those for refugees". "We will also create regulations for siblings to join unaccompanied minor refugees." Work bans for migrants will be abolished. "We reject the forced repatriation of people to countries where they are at risk of life and limb." Existing hurdles for naturalization are to be abolished and the current period of residence is to be shortened from eight years.

The SPD supports the institutions of specialty public prosecutor's offices in order to be able to prosecute anti-Semitism and racism. In order to combat hate crime, fraud and other criminal offenses, the national protective provisions in the Criminal Code and the Network Enforcement Act are to be further developed. With a democracy promotion law, the SPD would like to promote associations, projects and initiatives and "better arm them against the enemies of our open society".

Miscellaneous: "How do we live after Corona?" Asks the SPD in its program and provides answers: Solo self-employed should be better protected, for example through artists' social insurance and pension, health and unemployment insurance. “We want to anchor culture as a national goal in the Basic Law.” Minimum fees and exhibition fees are to be firmly established for freelance artists. The SPD is in favor of having a regulated dispensing of cannabis tested within regional and municipal model projects. The possession of small amounts of cannabis should also no longer be prosecuted. "We will ensure that MPs will in future have to indicate their income in euros and cents," writes the SPD, "we will also tighten the obligation to notify MPs for company participation and action options". The SPD wants to prohibit production and trade from throwing away food that is still edible. The SPD says no to genetically modified plants.

Positions on other topics can be found in the SPD's basic program.

There are three wings within the SPD. The parliamentary left rejects the Agenda 2010 introduced by Chancellor Gerhard Schröder. The Seeheimer Kreis supports the performance-based social policy of Agenda 2010. The wing organized in the Berlin network moves in between many issues, but supports Agenda 2010. The youth organization of the SPD are the Jusos.

Saskia Esken and Norbert Walter-Borjans are chairmen of the SPD.

(As of: May 18, 2021)