Specialist talk at Illner: CDU politicians advocate tax-free active pension

In the coming years, the economy will be able to fall back on fewer and fewer skilled workers.

Specialist talk at Illner: CDU politicians advocate tax-free active pension

In the coming years, the economy will be able to fall back on fewer and fewer skilled workers. One way out of the expected crisis could be new ways of employing older people. CDU politician Carsten Linnemann proposes a new form of pension in the ZDF program "Maybrit Illner".

The German economy has a problem that has literally been missed in recent years: the baby boomers, the "baby boomers", will soon retire and will no longer be available for the job market. This will lead to a shortage of workers that is already being felt. The average waiting time for a craftsman is currently easily three months, says crafts president Jörg Dittrich on Thursday evening in the ZDF program "Maybrit Illner". There the guests discuss ways out of the crisis.

Experts have been warning of the expected shortage of skilled workers for a long time. But this term is not enough. There is already a shortage of workers everywhere. Every one of us notices that when, for example, the pub next door closes two hours earlier because there is no one behind the counter; when your favorite butcher can no longer run his business because of a lack of junior staff; or if the dentist only gives appointments in the morning because there is no receptionist in the afternoon.

"I have to say that this will be the biggest challenge for the German economy in the next decade," predicts Andrea Nahles, head of the employment agency, whose exact job title is now "CEO". "In order to solve the problem, everyone has to lend a hand," she demands. Nahles thinks of women, who should increasingly work full-time, of young people without school qualifications or training, of immigrants - and last but not least of older workers.

"There is a risk that growth will slow down," fears Elisabeth Niejahr, managing director of the non-profit Hertie Foundation. And Craft President Dittrich adds: "The waiting times will increase if we don't get the problem under control". In addition, he believes that the prices for handicrafts will rise significantly. Energy and materials are becoming more expensive, many companies are struggling with declining orders and have to raise their prices in order to be able to continue to pay their employees.

The possible solutions are as diverse as the problems and the professions affected. Young employees or people with families in particular value flexible working hours. Some guests demanded that the attractiveness of the work had to increase. But for Andrea Nahles, the problem starts much earlier. Among other things, it has to place long-term unemployed people. Here, most of them are older than 55 or have had training at helper level. It needs more qualification.

And: Many people were "out of rhythm" because of long periods of unemployment. "Then we have to take people by the hand and do coaching and make sure that they are there in the morning." That is the task of the Federal Employment Agency, according to Nahles. "We'll tackle that. We have a toolbox for that, which has been expanded again with the citizens' income." At the same time, the head of the agency announces a qualification offensive.

Another way to cushion the skills and labor shortage could be the employment of older people. According to Elisabeth Niejahr, there has been a rethinking in business here. "Companies have opened up to older people in recent years," she says. Andrea Nahles can confirm this, but calls for special working time models for these people.

Greens co-boss Ricarda Lang knows that many people want and could work longer. In the future, it must be possible to regulate this as unbureaucratically as possible. However, according to the Green politician, raising the retirement age is wrong. This puts people at a disadvantage who are no longer physically able to work for long periods of time.

And here CDU politician Carsten Linnemann has a solution. He calls it "active pension": "I want to make it tax-free for everyone who reaches statutory retirement age and then works longer." Employees and their employers would only have to pay social security contributions. Linnemann: "We live in extraordinary times, so we need extraordinary instruments."

Dittrich can get a lot of positive things out of the idea: "Many will be happy to be able to earn something in addition to their pension." In his opinion, this idea offers another advantage: the social bond with colleagues. Andrea Nahles reacts a bit coolly, but doesn't seem to find the idea entirely bad either. She wanted to discuss "working hours and stress" "so that it works in the end."