Let them buy Teslas

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Germany’s Green Party chancellor candidate, Annalena Baerbock, is being accused of elitism after pushing people to buy electric cars over complaints that her party plans to significantly hike the cost of gasoline if they gain power. 

Conservatives critical of Baerbock are accusing her of essentially saying: “If they can’t afford gas, they should buy Teslas!”

The criticism echoes a phrase attributed to the ill-fated Queen Marie Antoinette, executed during the French Revolution, who is reported to have said, “If the people have no bread, let them eat cake.”

The Germans have been angered by the Green Party’s plan to raise the price of gas to €2 per liter, representing a 25 percent increase, in the interest of climate protection — but only in the event they score a victory in the September parliamentary elections. And that would be just the beginning, because there are plans to raise many other taxes to avoid what the party claims is an upcoming climate catastrophe.

The extra costs would, of course, be paid for by the German population, not by the big companies that are destroying the environment.

While this came as a surprise to Germans, we Hungarians are quite accustomed to such statements. We already know that if the left comes to power, it will mean austerity, raising taxes and increasing prices.

In any case, Baerbock’s plans to jack up fuel costs have much in common with Budapest’s liberal Mayor Gergely Karácsony, who pushed for such a plan in an interview with The Economist. It is a mixture of dilettantism and arrogance that many felt crossed a line.

There is another parallel between Baerbock and the mayor of Budapest, both from an academic background and both good-looking politicians. The darling of the German Green Party turned out to have written her professional CV in a rather “creative” way, just as Karácsony is accused of lying about his English-language skills and his PhD.

Contrary to Baerbock’s own assertion, she never went to law school and only got to the first exam in political science. Furthermore, she was not an office head in Brussels, which was originally posted on the web before the left-wing politician corrected her CV and admitted to wrong-doing.

She also exaggerated her role while managing the website of a Green MEP. She was not a journalist either, but only an intern in a medium-ranking newspaper.

She also did not attend postgraduate training at the famous London School of Economics, she only attended a one-year course, and even that, according to some German sources, was not much more than a money-laundering move.

Baerbock appropriated €25,000 from her party’s coffers last year — under the title of special remuneration for the epidemic — which she subsequently “forgot” to mention in her income statement. It seems that even today, left-wing politicians believe that they can transform reality in virtual space through slick communication.

Baerbock’s international law experience, which she also lists in her CV, only exists in the cybersphere, but not reality. Somehow, this is also the case with (former Hungarian Socialist Prime Minister) Ferenc Gyurcsány, whose diploma thesis “got lost” somehow. Using all sorts of tricks about the existence of their degrees — or more precisely their non-existence — left-wing politicians want to give the impression that they are educated people with command of foreign languages and equipped to run a country.

Because of the scandal, Baerbock is unlikely to become German chancellor, not least because in this month’s provincial election in Saxony-Anhalt — the main test before the federal vote in September ‚— the Greens were polling at just over 10 percent in the polls, but then barely made it into the local parliament which has a 5-percent threshold.

Yet, the German and international press expected the decline of the ruling Christian Democrats, whom they did not consider progressive enough, who in turn smoothly won with a very strong showing. 

Title image: Germany’s Green Party co-chairwoman Annalena Baerbock, a top candidate in the upcoming national election in September, speaks to the media after visiting the venue where the party’s online Congress will take place tomorrow, in Berlin, Germany, Thursday, June 10, 2021. (John MacDougall/Pool via AP)

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