Trade and industry associations across Germany broadly welcomed the new stimulus package, but political opponents were scathing in their criticism. Opposition leader Guido Westerwelle poured scorn on the proposed tax cuts, saying they were too little, too late:
“This year, the proposed tax cuts are worth around three billion euros,” he said. “That is about three euros ten cents per month, per person, which is roughly the price of a takeaway sausage, without chips. Germany is hardly going to go on a buying frenzy with that.”Economists welcomed the government’s motives, but said the package would be unlikely to have much positive effect. 2009 is going to be a difficult year, and Germany faces a general election in September. The success of the stimulus package, and with it the recovery of the economy and the jobs market, will be crucial to Chancellor Merkel’s hopes of staying in power.