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10 Jan, 2024 14:01

The German government is ripping off the farmers who feed the country

Massive protests have broken out as Berlin continues to pile cash on Ukraine instead of supporting its own workers
The German government is ripping off the farmers who feed the country

Farmers and their tractors started gathering on Monday here in Berlin as well as in cities across all of Germany’s federal states, including Hamburg, Cologne, and Bremen. The culmination, a massive planned protest, is set for Monday, January 15. 

The aim? To get Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s coalition government to backtrack on its decision to eliminate tax breaks on the diesel fuel used for farming – a sector already struggling with high energy costs as a result of the government’s de facto policy to screw itself and its own citizens over “for Ukraine” by cutting off cheap fuel from Russia because Brussels ordered it to. And then deciding that it’s cool because gas isn’t “green” enough anyway. Who knew that the German economy couldn’t just run on wind and sun? Not this government, apparently.

Feeling the heat, Team Scholz has already said that it’ll now just slow roll the cuts to subsidies. Apparently he’s never tried removing a band-aid really slowly. The farmers responded with some slow rolling of their own – right down the Autobahn and up to the Brandenburg Gate. The other issue is a road tax exemption for agricultural vehicles that the government decided to reimpose. Well, at least the farmers are getting their money’s worth this week by taking their tractors out for a spin along roads they probably never would have bothered with, just to join up with the protests. 

This whole mess is a result of Team Scholz’s own screwup. What else is new? Pretty standard operating procedure for the Western establishment: they screw up, then the cost of their mess gets dumped onto the average person. Scholz quietly took €60 billion ($65 billion) from a Covid recovery slush fund and plonked it into a fund for the much put-upon German industry. But only for the “green” industrials. Everyone else can just shove off. Which is also the arrogant attitude being bandied about by some establishment figures when it comes to farm diesel subsidies. Anyway, Scholz was ordered by the courts to put the misappropriated cash back – lest the government run the risk of incurring a debt. Whoops, too late. Berlin ended up €17 billion short in repaying it. So then the government had to figure out who it was going to have to screw over in an attempt to drum up some quick cash. Apparently those who literally feed the German people were identified as viable cash cows.

The government can now hear and see the honking tractors and big rigs from the Bundestag, gathering just a stone’s throw away from the epicenter of the protests at Brandenburg Gate. But Scholz has been talking instead about the need for European nations to mirror Germany in devoting more money to Ukraine – like he has nothing else going on inside his own country. You’d think that if he didn’t keep loading Ukraine up with cash and weapons then Russian tanks would just roll right into Berlin. He really should be more concerned about the German tractors and trucks that are already nearly right up under his office window. Germany doubled its Ukrainian military aid to €8 billion just before the New Year. Compare that with the €900 million that its rolled back tax breaks on farmers are expected to save them. 

If Team Scholz was so blasé about shuffling money around in the creation of this whole debt problem, you’d imagine it would be easy enough at the very least just to hold onto that cash for Ukraine and take the jackboots off the necks of the farmers. It seems that German farmers may have to move to Ukraine to get treated fairly by their own government.

Team Scholz is making one of the most productive elements of German society pay a heavy price for its own relentless screwups. The precise cost amounts to €10,000 annually for some farmers, who say it represents a potentially catastrophic loss for them. But the message being peddled by government officials is that farmers are already subsidized enough. You’d think they were just rolling in cash. Clearly, the reality is quite the opposite when €10,000 represents a make-or-break scenario. 

Instead of acknowledging the damage it’s doing, the government’s Interior Ministry is employing the tried-and-true tactic of attempting to diminish the farmers’ plight by conflating their cause with the “far-right,” which, allegedly, is already attempting to glom onto the cause. Anyone who disagrees with the Western establishment’s agenda seems to be labeled “far-right” these days. It’s like calling someone a racist – clearly a cynical attempt to shut down debate and marginalize entire movements. The average German doesn’t seem to be buying it, though, since 70% of them say they want Scholz to step down before the next election in October 2025, according to a new poll. 

Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck has accused some of the farmer movement’s participants of harboring “coup fantasies”. This is the same guy who fantasized that personally reducing his shower time would heap pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin by denying him energy revenues. Project much? 

The establishment constantly lectures about the need for unity. Apparently these officials wouldn’t know authentic unity if it literally rolled up to the Brandenburg Gate. Truckers have already joined up with the farmers’ cause. There are nearly as many average Germans who support the farmers – 68%, according to a new INSA/Bild poll – as there are who want Scholz to go. Now that’s real unity. Right, left, center, and people from all walks of life coming together behind two of the only groups in society that have the proven ability to make the government sweat. And this government’s response is to try to foster even more division by Balkanizing society, identifying various factions among those unhappy with the state of things and attempting to play them off against each other so they tear themselves apart instead of focusing on the real problem: the government itself. One German official even mentioned that the small farmers should blame the big farmers for their predicament. As though the kind of heavy-handed government action that led to this mess in the first place isn’t also totally responsible for the phenomenon of giant industrial players.

Polls suggest that the farmers are now the very incarnation of unity among Germans. If there’s one thing about which most Germans seem to agree, it’s how much those in charge truly suck. Of course, Team Scholz can continue to bury their heads in the sand and pretend to be broke while shoveling cash out the door to Ukraine. But in that case, stand by for the inevitable reckoning at election time when voters seek out an alternative to the establishment responsible for the chaos.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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