Christian Lindner is a politician who never avoids a fight. For a finance minister, that's a very advantageous trait, because he's always at odds with his colleagues in the cabinet. They want money, which the Federal Treasurer claims does not exist. And a preventer is usually not as good as an enabler. That's why finance ministers shouldn't be self-pitying.
Lindner particularly enjoys dealing with conflicts in public. Now he has postponed the presentation of the cornerstones for the next budget. A press conference next week, which had only been announced on Thursday afternoon, flew off the calendar again on Friday. The first probably happened only to make the second possible at all. Because the finance minister, who at the same time as party leader always has to gain attention for his troops threatened with extinction, knows how to give political decisions a dramatizing bang in public. Background noise is almost as important to FDP Chairman Lindner as a balanced budget is to Finance Minister.
Because Christian Lindner does not suffer from his fight alone against almost everyone. On the contrary: He sees it as a political program. And he has one man in particular in mind: Olaf Scholz. The insistence on the debt brake, the demand for prioritization of spending, simply: the acknowledgment that the state cannot and should not fulfill all wishes, from Lindner's perspective, all this is also a call to the Federal Chancellor to stand behind the strict policies of the to ask Finance Minister. It's about the signal that the FDP also has something to say in the government and not only gives Olaf Scholz the majority for chancellor.
Scholz was finance minister himself. In the grand coalition, however, he always had an election campaign to succeed Angela Merkel firmly in mind. That's why he wasn't concerned with the impression that he was trying to close ranks with the chancellor in order to draw up a budget. Olaf Scholz' firm conviction that he can do everything best anyway if he relies on Olaf Scholz above all was particularly convenient for him in this role.
In addition, the corona pandemic gave him the opportunity to spend a lot of money without a guilty conscience and to neglect the debt brake. One can even say that otherwise he would probably never have become chancellor, because all the money also served to bridge the differences between the SPD and its unloved front man.
For Lindner, the situation is completely different. After extra budgets in excess of the official budget totaling 300 billion euros, it is high time for the finance minister to correct his image. With a budget that would pass without much fanfare, the finance minister would immediately arouse suspicion among liberal supporters that he was not handling taxpayers' money carefully enough. Therefore, every euro must be fought for in a public manner. Therefore, the finance minister wrote a stylistically fluffed-up letter with constitutional instructions to the vice chancellor from the Greens. That is why he now wants to have the principles of budget formation discussed in the cabinet on Wednesday. It should be officially noted in the minutes that the time of generosity is over and from now on the debt brake will rule again. Approved by the Federal Chancellor. And enforced by Christian Lindner.