Thursday, December 1, 2022

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Daybreak: We’re not just too lazy

Good morning, dear reader,

There are nine sweaters in my closet, I counted them. Wolfgang Schäuble inspired me to do it, even if it doesn’t really make sense.

His answer to yesterday’s question in an interview whether many Germans shouldn’t freeze this winter struck me as equally absurd: “Then you just put on a sweater. Or maybe a second sweater.” We must not complain, but recognize that not everything can be taken for granted.

A typical Schäuble statement. But it’s a common misconception that over the years Germans have become lazy, crybaby, and whining too much. Schäuble went even further: “It worries me that so many Germans prefer to work less: for example part-time and never on weekends,” he says.

So we are a people of armchairs who are afraid that the heating and the lights will go out soon? Well, we were all a little surprised when there was no toilet paper in the supermarket at the start of the Crown crisis. But is it really that bad?

First of all, it should be noted that most Germans are fine. And this is good.

But there are others that Schäuble diligently ignores. Two million in need line up with food banks every month for free food, one in five children live in poverty. The irreverent statement of Schäuble’s sweater must seem like a mockery to them.

But let’s stay with those who live on the sunny side: maybe we have really made ourselves comfortable? I’m telling you from my point of view. Since Robert Habeck asked us to save electricity, I have turned down the heating in the house a bit. I find it difficult to take shorter showers. My life is comfortable: a warm house, a stocked refrigerator, and fresh bread on weekends. When I go to the bar, I also order a second cup of cappuccino. And then I read that in winter I should wear two sweaters on top of each other. Something is not right. The question doesn’t even arise. OR?

One thing is certain: giving up is a little easier in three cases. Or if it doesn’t hurt. I enjoy cycling and my commute to work is less than ten kilometers. So it’s easy for me to do without the car. Or: there is a high motivation to do without. For example, if someone wants to quit smoking because they are afraid of dying from cancer. Or the pressure from outside is too great. That’s why we only drive a little faster than 50 km / h in built-up areas.

In the current situation, another factor comes into play: the state.

It can increase the motivation or pressure to make us change our habits that have become comfortable. Or it can blast motivation. We are seeing it right now: in these days of energy shortages, rising prices and a stagnant economy, we want politics to ensure our prosperity. With cylinder discount, one-off payments, gas price brake, reduced heating costs. There are 200 billion euros available now, right? The list is long.

So the state gives us money, a lot of money. And so it takes away the motivation to change behavior. An example: with my September salary I also received an energy package of 300 euros. Of course, this should cushion the high costs. But others need more money.

In the end, we pay all of these expenses with an even higher one Inflation. The truth is: only when we consume less will inflation go down again. You can see it most impressively in the real estate market right now. As interest rates are rising, you are buying less. And the real estate market is cooling down.

What follows? We need an intense discussion of who the state really needs to be there. Those living on subsistence level need to be helped. Companies that get in trouble through no fault of their own need help. Education and infrastructure must be funded. But my house can actually hibernate at 18 or 19 degrees.

Strictly speaking, this troubled period shakes our understanding of the state. Only when the state can no longer fix everything will we realize what we are personally willing to do. Then we will also see if we are really united to face the crisis.

Today they meet Energy Minister of the EU in Prague. On the note: a joint purchase of gas, joint savings efforts, a gas price cap. The result is open, but the pressure is high. In the case of political events, this often helps to come to a conclusion. In the end it will also be a question of money.

The incidence of the corona is rapidly increasing. It is also clear that there are new variants out there, with cryptic names like BA.2.75 or BQ.1.1. The BA.5 variant is still predominant, but we are sure of a new Corona winter. Health Minister Karl Lauterbach tweeted yesterday that he is counting on an indoor mask requirement. What else is coming, she could answer during the poll in the Bundestag, starting at 1pm today.

Greta Thunberg delivered a through ball to FDP leader Christian Lindner today. In an interview with Sandra Maischberger, he said, Nuclear power plants already in operation should not be shut down in favor of coal power plants. The climate activist argues as if the Chernobyl, Fukushima and Harrisburg accidents never happened. Or to put it another way: it would be nice if we conduct political debates more often objectively, instead of putting our arguments in a black and white grid. Nuclear power in particular isn’t just good or bad. But definitely dangerous.

First, the Red Army was heavily outnumbered in World War II. But that too has changed thanks to this plane. Read here what it was.

Do you already know names like Alexey Dyumin or Dmitry Mironov? If not, that may change soon.

Something is happening in the Kremlin. For the past few days, state television has been reporting setbacks in Ukraine and it is rumored that Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu is about to be replaced. Colleagues from US media website Politico did a great job of summarizing the pieces of the puzzle that can be put together.

Elon Musk surprised a few days ago with detailed proposals on how peace in Ukraine should take place. Now colleagues of the US media website VICEpreviously he had had direct contact with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The search for new corona variants helps sewage. Scientists are now using it as a kind of early warning system. You hope so discover new outbreaks faster and to narrow it down, write colleagues from the scientific journal Spektrum.

Watch this video on Twitter. At leastif you also think a lot about people in Iran these days. 40 German actors expressed their solidarity in a wonderful solidarity campaign.

And then another link of our own: we’re starting something New who will deal with new things. With prominent guests. Click already.

The Opus Klassik music prize was awarded in Berlin on Sunday. Among others, the pianist Igor Levit was awarded on ZDF, the laudatory speech was given by the musician Danger Dan. He concluded with the words: “I would like to conclude this laudatory speech – simply to make Igor happy – with a message to all anti-Semites, racists, anti-feminists and AfD sympathizers in front of televisions: you are perfect idiots. “

Political correctness is questionable, ZDF has finally shortened the passage for the deferred broadcast of the gala and for the ZDF media library. And then what happens all the time on the Internet happened. Igor Levit made it public and several media reported yesterday afternoon.

And the best comes at breakfast. This morning the passage in question is suddenly back online. See for yourself (from 01:00:53).

Have a relaxing Wednesday. Tomorrow my colleague Daniel Mützel will write at this point.

Best regards,


Peter Schink

Peter Schink
Deputy chief editor of t-online
Twitter: @peterschink

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