One might wonder what rational reasons might have led Europe’s largest economy to increase the tax burden on its national citizens at a time of increasing inflationary burdens on European households, ineffective management of the effects of immigration and an economic crisis that has hit Europe as a whole even further, in an attempt to tackle labour market challenges caused by immigration. Does strengthening the unemployment benefit system and calling it a “citizen’s benefit” really increase immigrants’ chances on the labour market, contributing to the development of the German economy, or is it just another ineffective social policy tool that could increase the voter base of the welfare-oriented left? Our analysis examined this topic.
This analysis compares the old “Hartz IV” system with the Bürgergeld, which entered into force on 1 January 2023, pointing out how and in what way the conditions of the German unemployment and jobseeker system have eased, what heated debates have been and are still created over the benefit system on weaker terms, and what new social policy goals the German legislature has set for itself. Based on a comparison of the conditions of the previous and current systems, as well as the arguments formulated by the typically left-wing political leadership, the analysis makes a fairly successful conclusion that the reformed unemployment benefit system can indeed improve the labour market chances of immigrants who use it the most, or whether it serves other, less reasonable political goals.
In the research of the Századvég Foundation, a new product will be introduced called Századvég Reality Check, in addition to the range of strategic or tactical analyses known so far. In the course of its multifaceted work, Századvég, as a dominant think tank in Hungary, has always strived to combine analysis, research and direct information transfer, the interpretation of facts and data, through its professional activities, which attract the attention and interest of a wide public audience.
Reality Check (actually confronting reality) is nothing more than a second opinion given about the state of a current (e.g., social, economic) situation. So, when we say that something is a reality-check for a specific target group, the goal here is actually to make them aware of the truth about a particular situation. Reality Check is similar to fact-check, but less formal.
In the field of public awareness, it can be considered an important aspect of development that a citizen, a voter who is open to the issues of politics and the economy, can distinguish between reality and fiction when forming his or her own thoughts and opinions. Errors in thinking, as well as inadequate information (incomplete or poor knowledge of facts, data, trends), can influence civic and voter behaviour and thus lead to unsound decisions in many areas of life. The “reality test” of Századvég highlights the importance of interpreting or possibly “correcting”, i.e., checking, facts, data, and trends that play a significant role in public and social reality, which can be learned mainly from news.