Asset Publisher

Adobe Stock / Dilok


One who is in debt is not free

by Dr. Marcus Optendrenk

A plea for Germany’s debt brake

The discussion on Germany’s debt brake is in full swing. Critics of the debt break accuse it of being inflexible and an obstacle to investments for the sake of future generations. While critics are quick to call for reform proposals, Dr. Marcus Optendrenk, Minister of Finance of the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia, is making the case for the debt brake. Readers of this publication will find out why the debt brake is flexible enough to deal with today's challenges and a guarantee of freedom for future generations.

Asset Publisher

Since the ruling of Germany's Federal Constitutional Cout in November 2023, the debate on Germany's debt brake is in full swing. Critical voices are becoming louder and are calling for a reform of the debt brake. They claim that Germany's debt brake in its current form stands in the way of future investments and is too inflexible. Future generations are bound to suffer as a result.

Dr. Marcus Optendrenk, Minister of Finance of the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia, speaks up against this criticism and argues in favor of the debt brake. Dr. Optendrenk argues that it is not the fault of the debt break that political decision-makers do not prioritize sensible long-term future expenditure. More money does not automatically mean more investment. Indeed, there is no significant difference in the level of government investment before and after the introduction of the debt brake. Instead, we are faced with a situation in which politicians are inclined to prioritize short-term consumer spending. The debt brake is therefore not the problem, but a solution. Politicians must learn to make do with tax revenues and set priorities.

Moreover, the debt brake is flexible. The State can act in economically difficult times and in emergencies, not least because the debt brake encourages fiscal responsibility. A solid budget ensures that decision-makers in Germany are able to act and remain flexible.

For Minister Optendrenk, the debate is about much more than just the “black zero”. Rather, he sees the debt brake as a guarantee of freedom for Germany's future generations. After all, an increase in national debt could lead to a situation in which the parliament and the government are not free to make decisions, but depend on capital investors — because those with debt are not free.

Read the entire Monitor: "Those in debt are not free" here as a PDF.

Asset Publisher


Miriam Siemes

Portrait Miriam Siemes

Social Market Economy +49 30 26996-3232


Asset Publisher