Wouldn’t it be much smarter and more efficient if scientists and experts were to rule – just as it ostensibly happened in times of the pandemic? If you analyze the turquoise-green tax reform, you have the answer: As good as that may sound, especially to the ears of the politically disgruntled voters – no. It takes a strong combination of expertise and political skill.
The silent star of this government bill is a scientist and judging by the results, he has contributed more than is immediately apparent from the outside. And the management duo Kurz-Kogler has to be credited: They seem to have listened to him and to have appropriated his arguments. The stroke of luck in this team is Martin Kocher.
The Minister of Labor is a behavioral economist. And as such, he had enough weight to keep the climate-alarmist horses in check. In this first CO2 pricing, the climate savers would have liked to have gone much further. But: if you can no longer afford heating this winter, the joy of saving the climate of tomorrow will not warm you up. Kocher knows what the environmental lobbyists do not want to understand: With severe penalties (and taxes and fees are perceived as such) and excessive bans, people will not be induced to change their behavior.
The Chinese communists can afford to send the army to whole swathes of land and tear out the environmentally harmful ovens, but only offer people a replacement a year and a half and many months of frost later. Thank God that doesn’t work in our free, democratic system. The climate rescuers don’t know – it’s lucky that there are stoves.
With his expertise, Kocher evidently also reminded people that the promises of abolishing the cold progression, repeated in the manner of a prayer wheel – also in the turquoise-green government declaration – would bring the higher earners the most. And so the government’s will to make the tax reform socially accurate and to relieve the burden on small and medium incomes could lead to a much more efficient and strong relief of these population groups. The cabinet, otherwise almost completely freed from economic expertise, would easily have become driven by its own ignorance – lucky that Martin Kocher has been there since January.
And the measures to improve the business location would probably have become a bone of contention without him. Large circles of left-wing Austria have not yet understood that it would not work without successful employers. Compulsory contributions to the Chamber of Labor are put into propagandistic entrepreneur-eater TV spots, union bigwigs torpedo existential sales like those of the MAN plant to Siegfried Wolf in terms of industrial policy. A country cannot survive with anti-capitalist reflexes like these, which also lead the Greens. Fortunately there is Kocher – whose weighty voice has brought some things right.
And yet: with so many correct decisions, should only scientists rule? No – it won’t work without politicians. Because someone has to bring the scientific foundations that an expert contributes to social reality, to people’s everyday life. That was the case with the Corona measures – if the government had given the virologists / epidemiologists / model computers a free hand, the protest movement would certainly be much bigger than it is today.
Science can put policy decisions on a solid footing. Of course, only if it is free of ideology and purely fact-based – which is unfortunately often no longer the case today when it comes to climate, gender or diversity issues, for example.
With Kocher, this turquoise-green government was able to enter into an ideal interplay of (scientific) theory and (government) practice. There are still a few ministries where more in-depth expertise would be of benefit to us and our country.