It is said that Harald Schmidt and his side-kick Manuel Andrack did not talk about the anecdotes they wanted to tell each other on the show before the show. Each other’s reaction should always be genuine, spontaneous, improvised. Then the punchline hit better. The audience felt genuine surprise. Everyone was happy.

Nothing of the sort has been reported about Olaf Scholz and his side-kicks Robert Habeck and Christian Lindner. And maybe that’s exactly where the problem lies. Nothing about this coalition has had any spontaneous effect for a long time. The traffic light is not surprising. Every argument sounds like a repeat of the previous day’s episode. Nobody is happy.

Could be because the SPD, Greens and FDP constantly have far too much to say to each other. Does it have to be like that?

A brief excursion into the numbers of the day: The leading German economic research institutes expect growth of 0.1 percent this year. They assume 1.4 percent for 2025. So everything stays bad for now, before it finally gets better. 1.4 percent – ​​that is the hope. The only question is whether the SPD, Greens and FDP can still deal with something almost forgotten like hope.

After all, economic policy is like this: the state has all sorts of options to ensure growth. It can reduce taxes, make depreciation easier, and reduce bureaucracy. He can fill funding pots, subsidize companies or invest heavily in roads, rail and electricity networks. Which measure a government prefers is a question of economic conviction.

The current budget negotiations show how high ideological hurdles can be. It should be a real “economic turnaround”. An agenda moment that unleashes growth. But the FDP has a decidedly different agenda than the Greens. And the SPD – historically burdened – acts overly cautiously when someone says “agenda” too loudly. What the traffic lights could present in the summer to save the German economy is extremely shaky.

It would now be all the more important that the coalition does not forget an aspect of governance that has little to do with the legislative framework. It’s the same with economic policy: a lot depends on expectations and emotions. Those who are insecure don’t invest and only consume the bare essentials. Anyone who believes that tomorrow will be even worse than today should put their money aside. Companies are leaving. Citizens forego an evening in a restaurant or a new television.

And so back to the Harald Schmidt comparison. Of course, a government is not there to entertain the people with spontaneous punchlines. It’s also not their job to create a show so that everyone is happy. But she needs to spread a little confidence. Give people the feeling: It’ll be okay! Unfortunately, this is exactly the discipline in which traffic lights perform particularly poorly.

1.4 percent – ​​that is the hope. And if the SPD, Greens and FDP want to give confidence a chance, then they will remain silent for now. Then they resist the temptation to fill the quiet days with absurd ideas. No demand to introduce the four-day week for everyone. No plea to abolish a holiday for growth. In any case, everyone in this country knows who is demanding what. What would be more surprising instead: a week of Easter rest. Silence. Reflection.