Berlin has turned farmers into cash cows in the name of keeping green dreams alive
German farmers rolled into Berlin on their tractors last week to have a very public word with the managers who have revoked their long-standing discount – a subsidy on diesel fuel, which powers their farm equipment.
It seems that up until now, the government figured that feeding Germans was important enough to support, outweighing any ‘green’ obsessions. But that all changed abruptly for reasons that have little to do with the climate change agenda and more with its desperation for spare change.
The drama kicked off when Germany’s coalition government led by Chancellor Olaf Scholz found itself in a bit of a bind recently. Team Scholz had quietly moved €60 billion from a Covid-19 pandemic support fund into a green energy transition fund. The opposition noticed and finked to the court – which told Team Scholz to put the cash back because the sneaky move was a blatant violation of a law that had been ushered in under former Chancellor Angela Merkel specifically in an effort to ensure that the government was never able to bury itself in debt. Whoops, too late. Subsequently finding themselves underwater on the overall annual budget by an estimated €17 billion, they set about looking for ways to plug the hole.
Farmers, Team Scholz apparently figured, can at least be bilked for cash on the pretext that the government tax subsidies for the sinful diesel fuel that powers their equipment deserve to be canceled – sacrificed on the altar of climate change. It all sounds so virtuous, and not at all like scrambling to compensate for a major screwup.
Scholz is presiding over the only major economy set to shrink this year, according to the International Monetary Fund. He stood there with a grin on his face beside US President Joe Biden last year ahead of the Ukraine conflict, as Biden said that Washington would “take care” of the Nord Stream pipeline network (Germany’s economic lifeline of cheap Russian gas). Maybe Scholz was just daydreaming about how green Germany would be without gas. But there’s nothing like getting mugged by the harsh economic reality of German deindustrialization due to a lack of affordable energy to wipe the smirk right off one’s face.
So with Germany now strapped for cash, surely it’s time to really get radical about focusing on the most critical interests of the average citizen’s daily life – Ukraine, Ukraine, and Ukraine.
“We are forging ahead with the climate-neutral transformation of our country. We are strengthening social cohesion. And we are standing closely by Ukraine’s side in its defense against Russia,” Scholz said, as parliament agreed on a budget deal. “However, it is clear that we will have to make do with significantly less money to achieve these goals,” he added. No doubt Germans were thrilled to know that Ukraine wouldn’t be going without – unlike Germans.
In addition to taxing farmers, jacking up the carbon tax on things like fuel will help get the job done, the government figures. Way to rip off French President Emmanuel Macron’s failed plan that sparked France’s Yellow Vest movement, which gave rise to months of violent unrest. Looking forward to seeing what color vests Germans end up choosing. Green would be fitting.
Has anyone bothered pointing out to Scholz that increasing taxes on productive farmers in the name of fighting climate change takes some nerve considering his own government has overseen coal plants being brought back because their green dreams turned out to be a massive flop when wind and solar wasn’t sufficient to power the country’s (and the EU’s) economic engine after shunning Russian gas? When a wind farm has to be dismantled to expand a coal mine, as was the case in North Rhine-Westphalia, that doesn’t exactly scream strategic victory – more like a green wet dream that didn’t survive the glaring light of reality.
This trend of EU governments trying to throw farmers under their own tractors is rampant. The Netherlands has expropriated farms that failed to comply with EU climate change legislation, citing research on the impact of belching and defecating cows. Surely it’s just a coincidence that Brussels is pushing for relaxed rules on lucrative industrial genetically modified crops, now that they have all this farmland becoming available in the EU’s top beef exporting country. According to a leaked draft of EU legislation obtained by Politico earlier this year, EU countries won’t be able to ban genetically modified (GMO) crops produced with new technology. Sounds like a looming windfall for companies like Bayer, Syngenta, and Corteva, in the same way that green tech shareholders have made out like bandits thanks to underperforming taxpayer-funded climate change projects.
And it’s not just climate change that has served as a pretext for impoverishing farmers to the ultimate benefit of the establishment special interests. Ukraine must be allowed to feed the world’s poor, the EU cried. And who could be cold-hearted enough to argue with that?
Well, earlier this year, farmers in Eastern European countries stood up and demanded that Brussels stop the Ukrainian grain, ostensibly destined for the rest of the world via Europe, from being dumped into their countries and driving down the price of their own supply. The EU seemed more concerned about funding Ukrainian farmers than its own. Wonder what could be lurking behind that? “USAID and Bayer Expand Partnership with Additional $15.5 Million from Bayer to Support Ukrainian Farmers,” the US government announced in July 2023, with the industrial GMO giant Bayer announcing deepening cooperation with seed donations and expanded operational assistance to Ukrainian farms.
So at this point, some folks may still be thinking, “Well, at least the establishment is only targeting farmers, and it’s all being done in the greater interests of helping the climate and Ukraine.” Newsflash: the British government-funded ‘Center for Ecology and Hydrology’ has just published, in the Public Library of Sciences Journal, a study underscoring the impact that “human breathing is contributing to greenhouse gas emissions.” The research recommends “caution in the assumption that emissions from humans are negligible.” Better hope that no one shows it to the bureaucrats in Brussels or Berlin responsible for actionable policy.
December 25, 2023 at 09:35PM