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Taking Stock of the Federal Government’s Social Policy (May 17, 1974)

In his inaugural address to the Bundestag, newly elected chancellor Helmut Schmidt takes stock of the achievements of the SPD-FDP coalition, giving particular emphasis to the expansion of social policy measures ranging from pensions and co-determination to education and healthcare policy. According to Schmidt, this expansion led to an improvement in the quality of life for all citizens.

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Policy Statement by Helmut Schmidt

[ . . . ]

Ladies and gentlemen, the social-liberal coalition has been the driving force of progress in the Federal Republic since 1969. That also applies for the past eighteen months. The progress report of the federal government of December 1973 is impressive evidence of this. In making an interim appraisal, let me begin by addressing the main areas of work thus far in this legislative period.

Let me first mention the tax and child allowance reform. Our tax reform program for this part of the income tax and the child allowance was submitted to the Bundestag as a package at the beginning of this year. Before that, the new Foreign Tax Act was passed, which limited the possibility of tax evasion. The reform of the property tax and the inheritance tax has also been passed. In doing so, we have provided noticeable tax relief for smaller capital assets. Tax allowances for trade tax will be increased as of January 1 of the coming year, which will result in one out of two tradesmen not having to pay any trade earnings tax at all anymore. [ . . . ]

Second, let me mention co-determination. On February 20, the federal government passed the bill for the new co-determination law. We in this coalition see co-determination, based on the principle of equality and balance between employees and shareholders, as one of the most important social success stories of the social-liberal coalition. A society that strives to move forward economically and politically is not possible without co-determination and the shared responsibility that goes with it. [ . . . ]

Third, I will mention the property law. An important further step in reforming the property law was accomplished through the federal government’s amendment to the federal construction law. This amendment will take a segment of the increase in values that was achieved by the community and use it for the community. That should slow down the increase in land prices, put an end to speculation, and make it easier for broad sections of the population to purchase property.

Fourth, I will mention environmental protection. The federal government has taken precautions to better protect living and environmental conditions. The federal air pollution control act achieves the prerequisites of taking action against those responsible for air and noise pollution. [ . . . ]

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