Comment: The ruling on Hartz IV sanctions confirms the principle of demanding and demanding and is therefore not a success for the unemployed movement
If after a verdict of the Federal Custodial Court seemingly everyone is satisfied, then one knows that the highest legal authority in Germany has once again confirmed itself as a total capitalist. This most noble task of the German judiciary was particularly observed by the judges in Karlsruhe when they ruled on the illegality of the Hartz IV sanctions.
While almost all the media point out that the court declared Hartz IV sanctions partially unlawful, the press release states for the first time in several paragraphs that the court upheld the sanctions regime as a whole:
The legislature can bind the claiming of subsistence benefits to the principle of subordination, i.e. such benefits can only be granted if people are unable to secure their own existence. It may also impose reasonable obligations on recipients of unemployment benefit II to cooperate in order to overcome their own neediness, and may sanction the violation of such obligations by temporarily withdrawing state benefits.
From the press release of the Federal Constitutional Court
Only then does the court address the slight corrections it has imposed on the sanctions regime.
Because of the extraordinary burden this creates, however, strict requirements of reasonableness apply here; the legislature’s otherwise broad scope for assessment is limited here. The longer the regulations are in force and the legislator can thus make a well-founded assessment of their effects, the less he may rely solely on amptions. It must also be possible for those affected to reasonably create the conditions for receiving benefits again after a reduction.
From the press release of the Federal Court of Arrest
The core element of the high court decision reads:
The provisions of § 31a para. 1 sentence 1 SGB II standardized high of a benefit reduction of 30% of the mabgabenden standard need is not to be objected after the present realizations constitutionally.
From the press release of the Federal Prosecutor’s Office
That is, from the absolute subsistence level, which represents the Hartz IV rate, may be deducted for sanction purposes maximum 30%. The state’s policy of impoverishment must be very widespread to see success in such a message. In fact, there were also total sanctions, which meant that the victims had no money for electricity and rent and often lost their homes. The benefits for persons over 25 years of age can no longer be reduced to zero in the future.
More effective punishment with the sentence
In addition, the court criticized the rigid time limit of 3 months for a sanction with a reasoning that once again makes clear that with the ruling it wants to better enforce the intentions of the legislature. it is about punishments for lack of participation. Here, the rigid 3-month deadline has a counterproductive effect, because even if those affected are now particularly eager to cooperate, the sanction deadline has remained in place until now Now the court rules:
Since the legislator must appeal to the personal responsibility of the persons concerned when it suspends subsistence benefits because reasonable cooperation is refused, this is only reasonable if such a sanction ends in principle as soon as cooperation takes place. Those in need must themselves be able to create the conditions for actually receiving the benefit again.
From the press release of the Federal Court of Correction
Already in these lines the whole cynicism of the sanction regime is summarized in a few sentences. If someone is sanctioned and he then forcibly cooperates, for fear of hunger and loss of housing, then the punishing state must react flexibly and end the sanctions. In this way one also produces better trained subjects, who immediately notice when they have acted wrongly and when they have not. The court also opposes total sanctioning with the argument:
There are also considerable doubts about the necessity of this sanction. The legislature’s basic leeway for assessment is narrow in this case, because the sanction imposes a serious burden on the fundamentally protected sphere of human dignity. It has been exceeded because there is no evidence whatsoever that the elimination of subsistence benefits would be necessary to achieve the desired goals. It remains to be seen whether a reduction of the standard benefits to a lesser amount, an extension of the reduction period or even a partial switch from cash benefits to benefits in kind and non-cash benefits would not be just as effective or even more effective, because the negative effects of the total sanction would not occur.
From the press release of the Federal Constitutional Court
Here, too, one can read from every line that the court is in agreement with politics and state apparatuses in the goal that people should also be sanctioned with loss of income if they do not cooperate in finding wage employment again under all circumstances.
Nothing changes for people under 25
However, the limitations of the sanctions do not apply to people under 25 either. But it is precisely in this age group that there have often been particularly drastic sanctions in the past For example, it was often made impossible for young adults under 25 to move into their own apartment because the office refused to pay the costs of the apartment.
It is precisely this age group that is supposed to get to know the punishing state in all its harshness with the sanctions. This is also a form of conditioning for a subject consciousness. It is therefore unlikely that the government will meet the demands of the opposition party Die Grunen to abolish sanctions for this age group.
While parts of the SPD have at least verbally distanced themselves from the Hartz IV reforms pushed by their party, the CDU/CSU parties are acting as the defenders of the laws. The verdict will do little to change that. After all, the parties want to serve different interests.