Our goal is the further development of the social market economy into an ecological-social market economy. In this economy, prices tell the ecological and social truth: costs are neither hidden nor imposed on third parties, on society or future generations, but transparently allocated to those who cause them. Tax policy encourages ecologically and socially compatible economic activity and burdens non-sustainable business models. Subsidies that promote environmentally harmful business practices are being reduced. This opens up the necessary scope for the state to finance investments in infrastructure, research and development, in the resilience of our ecosystems, and thus to reduce the debt burden on future generations.
The market economy is designed in such a way that it is reasonable for individuals and companies to behave sustainably. Market forces work for socially just prosperity within the ecological limits of our planet.
Prices have a central function in a market economy. They signal value and scarcity, control supply and demand, and should ultimately lead to an efficient allocation of resources. So far, prices do not adequately reflect the societal costs of pollution, the climate crisis, species extinction, and resource depletion. In too many fields we externalize the costs of our economic activity at the expense of third parties and future generations. That is why we are committed to the costs-by-cause principle and the internalization of external costs, in particular with economic instruments such as CO2 prices, emissions trading, and energy and resource taxes.
The way we finance our polity shapes our country. What we pay taxes on and what the government spends money on helps determine how we live and do business. An efficient tax system should tax what should be avoided, not what is socially desirable. The guiding principle should be that those who behave in an environmentally friendly manner benefit. Contrary to this guideline, the state today finances almost two-thirds of its revenue through taxes on labor and less than five percent through taxes and fees on the use of natural resources - and the trend has been downward for years.
People with limited financial means must be supported in being able to behave in an environmentally friendly manner while being enabled to participate in social changes.
In order to promote structural change and climate protection, the steering effect of environmental taxes on the revenue side must be complemented by consistent expenditure and investment policies. Otherwise, environmentally harmful subsidies and investments will counteract the incentive effects emanating from tax policy and, at the same time slow down structural change and climate protection.
The need for a consistent expenditure policy also applies in particular to economic and crisis policy. The enormous investments and expenditures that are being made in Germany and many other countries must not be allowed to counteract long-term climate protection goals. They should be used to accelerate the structural change toward an ecological and social market economy.
A major obstacle to structural change are environmentally harmful subsidies amounting to more than 60 billion euros a year (this is almost the amount the state collects annually through environmental taxes). The tax relief for kerosene, a reduced tax rate for diesel, exemptions for industry in the taxation of energy, VAT exemption of international air traffic and the business car privilege are among the major subsidies here. They have a particularly strong impact on the environment and are often socially unjust - because the wealthy benefit most from them. Subsidies distort prices, create economic disincentives, create path dependencies, hinder the shift away from coal, oil and gas, and burden the society fourfold: it finances the subsidy and later bears the follow-up costs, while prosperity is distributed more unequally, and natural livelihoods are destroyed.
FÖS is therefore committed to the dismantling of environmentally harmful subsidies at the national as well as international level.