Is new Hartz 4 like blackmail?

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From: Jens Kiffmeier

Hartz IV becomes citizen income, but otherwise everything stays the same? No, says Sarah-Lee Heinrich (Green Youth) – and calls for higher standard rates. An interview.

Berlin – The mother? Single parent. And Hartz IV recipient. Sarah-Lee Heinrich knows how it feels when the standard set is not enough in front and behind. “I’ve always had to live in uncertainty. I didn’t know what was going to happen next month,” says the spokeswoman for the Green Youth, who has never made a secret of her childhood in relation to ALG II. On the contrary, today she draws part of her political credibility from this period in her life story. Because within the new traffic light coalition, the 21-year-old is a determined champion of the Increase in the Hartz IV rate.

Financial help for the unemployed: Unemployment benefit II (called Hartz 4)
Introduced: January 1, 2005
Legal basis: Second Book of Social Legislation

Citizens’ income instead of Hartz IV: Reform on the plan of Minister of Labor Hubertus Heil – will the standard rate remain untouched?

A debate about labor market reform has been raging for weeks. Declared goal of Federal Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) is the Abolition of Hartz IV and the introduction of a new citizens’ allowance. But while the additional income limits are to change, the amount of the standard rates will not be shaken – for example Frustration of many trade unions and social organizations, but also the Green Youth. For the youth organization of the ruling party, the discussion is far from over. Whether the minister can still be convinced how high the standard rates should actually be and talks about the secret power of employers Sarah-Lee Heinrich in an exclusive interview with Time for a conversation:

Citizens’ income: The traffic light wants to abolish Hartz IV – Sarah Lee-Heinrich and the Green Youth are still critical of the reform

The traffic light partners want to abolish Hartz IV and one Introduce citizen income reform*. But many recipients are frustrated because the rule sets remain unchanged. Why did the coalition talk so much?

For the Green youth, it is a major concern to overcome Hartz IV. Because many mistakes were made in Agenda 2010. The traffic light therefore has the responsibility to do everything possible to close the low-wage sector and strengthen the welfare state. As far as Hartz IV is concerned, there are announced reform steps that are not irrelevant either. But it’s not an abolition, that’s true.

Demands an increase in the Hartz IV rate: Sarah-Lee Heinrich from the Green Youth. ( assembly) © Kay Nietfeld/Hendrik Schmidt/dpa

From your point of view, what still needs to happen?

Hartz IV is only abolished when it secures a livelihood and there are no more sanctions. This is currently not the case.

So the citizen money is just a new name for Hartz IV?

There are reforms, but you have to be careful not to let the name change blind you.

Hartz IV: The standard rate should be increased in 2022 – Green Youth sees Minister Hubertus Heil as a duty

Why didn’t your party get more salvation from Minister Hubertus in the negotiations?

the In the end, the Greens were unable to assert themselves against the SPD and FDP*. In the negotiations, one could have agreed directly to raise the standard rates. You didn’t do it.

Why not?

Because it is not in the interests of the majority of this coalition. If not only the Greens, but also the SPD had been in favor, then we would now have an increase in the standard rate. It was a two against one decision.

So let’s say it out loud: is the drop sucked now?

I would say no. A major recalculation is planned for 2023. We have to keep up the public pressure now. The higher standard rates can be financed. The only thing missing at the moment is the political will.

Amount of the Hartz IV rate: According to the Greens, the job centers should pay out at least 700 euros for the 2022 citizen benefit

Where is the money for the Hartz IV rate supposed to come from? The citizen income reform is not the only socio-political promise.

Unfortunately, a conscious decision was made not to involve wealthy people more in financing the common good. I find that fundamentally wrong. Because, conversely, you have decided to save on the poorest people. It cannot be justified that the traffic light lets millions of people knowingly live below the subsistence level. The traffic light has the responsibility to find ways of financing.

When it comes to financing, however, your parent party has also been reticent. The election program only provided for an increase in the standard rates of 50 euros. Is that enough?

You have to differentiate. The demand was that the standard rates should increase by 50 euros immediately and that the standard rate should then be increased step by step. The real subsistence level is around 600 to 700 euros. That sentences need to move in that direction, is clear to everyone in the party.

Spokeswoman Sarah-Lee Heinrich (Green Youth) stands casually on a banister.
Admonisher for the abolition of Hartz IV: Sarah-Lee Heinrich, spokeswoman for the Green Youth. © Kay Nietfeld/dpa

Hartz IV recipients usually have little lobby in politics. Is it therefore also too easy for a government to ignore interests?

We expect the SPD, but also the Greens, to stand more firmly on the side of the workers. This also includes the unemployed, who often do not have a job involuntarily, are single parents or constantly have to jump back and forth between Hartz IV and a temporary job. Do you remember the INSM campaign against Annalena Baerbock?

Annalena and the 10 prohibitions?

Yes, exactly. In justifying the campaign, this employer interest group* made no secret of the fact that, among other things, they have a very big problem with the abolition of Hartz IV. But why is it like that?

There is a lot of interest in the country that people take low-paying jobs.

tell us

Because people can no longer be blackmailed into taking bad jobs. Low-wage sector and Hartz IV go hand in hand. And the moment we have good basic security, people think twice about taking a badly paid job. But in our country there is a great deal of interest in people taking badly paid jobs anyway.

Your critics would say that the feel-good factor in the social hammock should not be too great, because then the incentive to look for a job is gone.

Part of the truth is that many people are involuntarily unemployed and want to escape the poverty trap. But we now have the situation that many people get out of Hartz IV because they take a badly paid and temporary job – and then end up back in Hartz IV. But we can Don’t penalize the unemployed because every fifth job is a low-wage job. I want everyone to have a well-paying job.

Hartz IV: Keep up the pressure in the fight for citizen money

So you keep fighting?

You have to fight for implementation, yes. From my point of view, the fight for citizen income is an open one. It’s our job to keep the pressure up. And I do believe that is possible.

how differs the new basic security from Hartz IV? Explains what is changing now *.

Sarah-Lee Heinrich has been the spokeswoman for the Green Youth since October 2021. The 21-year-old student, who is now studying social sciences at the university in Cologne, runs the youth organization together with Timon Dzienus. The two see it as their task to talk the mother party, but also the SPD and the FDP into the conscience – despite government power. While Heinrich, in addition to environmental and climate policy, has also taken up the cause of social justice, Dzienus recently attacked Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) for an allegedly failed transport policy. *, and are offered by IPPEN.MEDIA.

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