What is my political belief
I am firmly convinced that social issues should again be clearly more noticeable in the focus of social democratic action.
Only the ten richest Lower Saxony have assets that roughly double the state's entire social budget. That means: ten people could - virtually out of the postage - cover all social expenses in the country for care, integration assistance, families, volunteering, integration, women and youth work for two years! On the other hand - according to the latest information from the State Office for Statistics - 15.9% of the citizens of Lower Saxony - that is 1.2 million people - are at risk of poverty. The risk of poverty in our federal state has thus been at a record level since the first survey in 2005.
Despite all the economic and labor market successes of our party in the state and federal government, we unfortunately have to say that the gap between rich and poor is widening, that social inequality is increasing, and that society is threatened with dividing. This is because poverty, which we find not only among single parents, the long-term unemployed, the health impaired and migrants, but also among the over 65s, leads to exclusion. Poverty hampers or prevents participation in social life, education, culture, mobility, decent living, health, and access to participation in clubs, associations and parties. This fact, which I know from my own experience insofar as my mother has had to get by on the meager pension of a textile worker for almost 20 years, cannot be reconciled with my idea of social cohesion, of solidarity in Lower Saxony.Actively counteracting this is one of my driving forces. Because poverty is not a natural phenomenon. The risk of poverty can be counteracted through concerted political action. I would therefore like to work in state politics for an active fight against long-term unemployment through publicly subsidized employment, through the establishment of a so-called social labor market. It has always been a mystery to me why we invest so much in state transfer payments instead of meaningful jobs!
With what I do, I want to help create educational and participation opportunities for children and young people: this includes basic child benefits as well as a reasonable advance maintenance law, a training guarantee and a new overall concept for child and youth welfare at the state level. It is cynical that we have become used to the saying for years: Poverty is inherited. We can no longer accept that! And even if it is not always primarily a matter for the state - there is also the instrument of the Federal Council initiative: The increasing poverty in old age is through at least a stabilization of the pension level, through an extensive avoidance of precarious employment, through the already mentioned fight against long-term unemployment to counter better protection for single parents and a reform of the basic security in old age.
Another topic of social policy that is very close to my heart is care. Kurt Tucholsky once said: "Old people usually forget that they were young, or they forget that they are old, and young people never understand that they can get old". This saying describes an absurd dilemma: Despite the demographic change that has been taking place for years, despite the associated and well-known rejection of the age pyramid, care is still not established as a task for society as a whole. An offensive and broad discussion is required that encompasses the issues of age, solidarity, the tasks of the individual, the family, society, intergenerational justice and, last but not least, the cultural question of the coexistence of citizens.
3.7% of the population are in Lower Saxony, i. H. almost 300,000 people, in need of care. Unfortunately, despite all the efforts of the state government and other actors, Lower Saxony is still at the bottom of the West German federal states when it comes to the refinancing of outpatient and inpatient care services. This means that with the same contribution rate for long-term care insurance, people in need of care in North Rhine-Westphalia or Bavaria receive more benefits than is the case with us. The low level of wages is noticeable in the facilities and services in insufficient staffing and the associated work pressure, an enormous work density. “Care every minute” or “The main thing is, full and clean” are nowadays used to describe this fact.
The winners in this competition are those carriers who do not pay according to the tariff - wage dumping is the currency, not the quality of the work. Therefore, together with the SPD and the non-profit associations, I want to continue to work with all my might for a generally binding collective agreement in care. All the more so since calculations by the state assume that 50,000 nurses will be missing in Lower Saxony alone by 2030. In addition, many new technical and political concepts are required in order to be able to help as many people as possible to stay at home for as long as possible. Integrated care supply chains, the promotion of innovative living concepts, the further development of gerontopsychiatric day care, the strengthening of independence through modern technical aids and the expansion of preventive and rehabilitative offers are just a few of the key words here.
I would also like to say something about inclusion. The question for us is not whether we are for or against inclusion. With the ratification of the UN Disability Rights Convention, inclusion is a human right that we - like other human rights - must assert. What needs to be discussed, however, is the path, the measures and resources necessary to achieve the goal of an inclusive society. In my opinion, there is still room for improvement in various ministries in the country. I would like to contribute my expertise to this process as well as to the local and regional implementation of the state psychiatry plan, which was presented by the state in May of last year as a remarkably good document. Against the background of the rapidly increasing number of mental illnesses, this is another important socio-political task for the next ten years.
In social policy, as in the question of the democratic, defensive constitutional state, the following applies: Only the rich can afford a poor state.
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