Heiner Geißler and the "New Social Question" (1969)
While the social-liberal coalition emphasized the success of its socio-political reform policies, Heiner Geißler, the CDU’s social affairs minister in Rhineland-Palatinate, claimed that a “New Social Question” needed addressing. In 1975, Geißler published a book under the same title. Using official statistics, he tried to prove that the actual number of needy persons in the Federal Republic far surpassed the number of those receiving social assistance. In doing so, Geißler wanted to point out that the existing system of social assistance, which depended on recipients being employed, did too little to prevent poverty, particularly in the case of the unemployed. In public discussion, Geißler also drew attention to other problematic developments, for example, the rise of health care costs. Photo by Kurt Rohwedder.