Germany is a prosperous country. We owe our prosperity to many committed employees, innovative companies and a long-standing social security system. But here, too, wealth, prosperity and poverty have many faces.
While many regions have enjoyed almost full employment with well-paid jobs for years, there are also areas where many of the young and elderly are unemployed and see no prospects. Others have jobs with a future, but are struggling to balance family, personal interests and work. Too many labour under poor conditions and move from one temporary job to another. While many benefit from globalisation and digitalisation, others fear losing their jobs to robots or to foreign countries. Especially employees who provide simple services struggle to survive with stagnating wages and labour under sometimes poor working conditions.
The caregiver, the day-care teacher and the policewoman have to make ends meet with comparatively low incomes despite their enormously important social work. According to the OECD, the high concentration of wealth in the hands of a few also harms the economy and society, while at the same time many people with low incomes are burdened with debt, hardly able to invest in their children's future, let alone put anything aside. These problems cannot be solved by simply talking about successes.
One of the most important tasks of politics is to create conditions so that all people can use their abilities and lead a good, self-determined life. This is why we want to create new opportunities and better working conditions. Our society will remain strong if everyone shares fairly in the prosperity generated. But it will become even stronger if it offers equal opportunities and possibilities to all. The rungs of the social ladder cannot not be so far apart that it is almost impossible to climb.
Poverty can have no place in our society. Poverty harms us all: The people who are deprived of their future opportunities and the prospect of a self-determined life, as well as society as a whole, which depends on the talents and abilities of all. That is why we cannot accept the fact that two million children in our country live in poverty. We want each and every one of them to be able to live a good life by means of their own efforts and the solidarity of society.
Education plays a decisive role for us. Our educational system has become fairer and more permeable as a result of the reforms in many Green states. But it does not yet provide real equality of opportunity. All too often, it is social background that determines educational and career opportunities, not talent or hard work. We want a school system that encourages and trains, not one that slows down or blocks. To achieve this, we want to lift the ban on cooperation in the school sector. We want the federal, state and local governments to work together without obstacles to create equal opportunities.
We will launch a major reform package to combat child poverty, ease the financial burden on families and significantly improve support for single parents. We will drain tax swamps and ensure that the super-rich finally make their fair contribution to the common good. We want to invest in day-care centres, schools, job centres, public libraries, youth centres and affordable housing - all of these are places the socially disadvantaged are particularly dependent on, but from which the whole of society benefits.
We will abolish the two-class healthcare system and instead provide good health care for all by means of a citizens' insurance. We will fight for adequate pensions and good care in old age. We want to prevent people from having to move from one insecure job to another. We want to give people more sovereignty over their own time again, so that they can better combine work, family and engagement.
A strong welfare state and a strong economy are mutually dependent. That is why we are committed to an economy that is fair and stable, innovative and full of entrepreneurial spirit. We want to seize the opportunities offered by digitalisation and shape this revolution in such a way that it benefits everyone.
In this way we strengthen social cohesion and the acceptance of our democracy, which is threatened by injustice. This is how we make sure that everyone believes in the opportunities our country has to offer and that everyone benefits from them as well.