Since the change from “Hartz IV” to citizen’s benefit, the number of benefit recipients who have accepted a job offered to them has fallen by almost 6 percent. These are not horror stories from supposedly heartless neoliberals, this is a fact.

This was determined by labor market researcher Enzo Weber from the Institute for Labor Market and Occupational Research at the Federal Employment Agency. And in an interview with FOCUS online, he made no secret of the fact that the introduction of citizens’ money was “not fundamentally wrong”.

The scientist is nevertheless of the opinion that “there is even more possible” when switching from social benefits to the labor market. He is supported in this by those who are very close to the aid recipients – the district administrators.

The District Council, the municipal association of the 294 districts, has now called for significantly stricter rules for the receipt of citizens’ money. Above all, local politicians want to give more weight to demanding rather than supporting. In the opinion of the district council, this is also necessary to take the interests of taxpayers into account. The latter have to finance citizens’ money. You are rightly annoyed by reports about “support” recipients who are unwilling to work.

The district council’s proposals go in the same direction as those of many economists, employers or the CDU/CSU opposition. The sanctions for benefit recipients who refuse to cooperate in finding a job are to be tightened. The representatives of the districts are also against reimbursement of citizens’ benefit recipients for the costs of their apartment in the first year, regardless of size and rent level. An applicant’s so-called protective assets should also be reduced from 40,000 euros to 15,000 euros.

The protected assets are the amount that a recipient of citizen’s benefit is allowed to have in the account and does not have to touch it if they apply for state support. For a family with two children it currently amounts to 85,000 euros, for three children it is 100,000 euros. The district administrators’ thrust is clear: the pressure on benefit recipients to look for a job should be increased. This is by no means a matter of “total refusers” who reject any contact with the job center – and any contact with the world of work at that.

It’s also about those who have made a good living with the combination of a part-time job plus citizen’s benefit. If the income from work is lower than the citizen’s allowance, the office will “top up” it accordingly.

Even the social politicians from the SPD and the Greens no longer deny that something went wrong with the “upgrade” from Hartz IV to citizens’ money. More generous benefits and fewer sanctions have not led people without jobs to seek jobs more. Many employers complain about a lack of employees. They attribute this not least to the reduced gap between citizen’s money and the income from a low-wage job.

Even Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) had to recognize that forgoing tough sanctions was a mistake. In the meantime, the job centers for “total refusers” can completely cancel citizens’ benefit for two months.

When people choose “support” over a job, it has less to do with any particular morality than with human nature. Evading the rules or simply “taking” government benefits is common practice in all social classes. It’s not just citizens’ benefit recipients who use every trick imaginable to resist regular work that do this. Higher earners do the same thing and have no scruples about deceiving the tax office.

All illegal workers, as well as all illegal employers, cheat the state. Because only those who find a suitable employer can work for “cash in de Täsch”.

It is impossible to imagine a society in which everyone strictly adheres to law and order. That would be too good to be true. Nevertheless, the state has a damned duty to punish rule violations in such a way that this also has a deterrent effect. For citizens’ money this means: support and demands must be brought back into balance. Not least with regard to the financiers of citizens’ money – the taxpayers.