Guest commentary from Martin Janssen, published by Tagesanzeiger.

In order to cushion the crisis economically, fast money is needed, the waiving of fees and a transfer from winners to losers.

How are the Swiss pension funds doing so far in the corona crisis?

The corona crisis is like the impact of a meteorite: Its consequences are incalculable. Much is being done in terms of health policy, but now we must take measures to prevent economic infections as far as possible will be. In doing so, Switzerland’s liberal order is to be disturbed only temporarily, and only to the extent that it is absolutely necessary.

Three measures seem appropriate. First, the effects of the crisis must be spread over time. To this end, the Swiss Confederation should borrow around CHF 100 billion on the capital market at an interest rate of less than zero percent and make this money available to the banks for loans to affected companies. There are no gifts; the economy can only help itself. The banks should grant the loans at interest rates that are as low as possible but commensurate with the risk. The loans are to be repaid to the banks and then to the federal government within four years. The federal government will inform the banks of this without delay, so that the banks can grant loans practically from tomorrow.

Secondly, the state has, in recent years, laid a dense network of revenues over the successful economy: VAT, income taxes, property taxes, transport taxes, water rates, telephone charges, radio and television licences and so on and so forth. Per head of population, we probably have the most expensive national budget in the world.

Drug manufacturers are among the winners of the corona crisis.

Therefore, the state must now immediately adjust its income to the expected losses of the economy. For the next few months, he is to be responsible for all payments made by customers to state-owned Posts – including state-affiliated companies such as Swisscom, Swiss Television or municipal utilities – Deferred grant. In addition, it is to grant the revenue from fees and charges in total still this year by at least 10 percent. If the state does not reduce revenues, he’s a crisis profiteer. And this fits badly with the current and future situation and the state of the economy Credibility.

Thirdly, some companies, especially tradesmen, suffer existential damage from the virus. Other companies, such as the pharmaceutical industry, benefit from the events. The question is whether the winners should not compensate the losers. I am answering the question not from an ethical, but from an economic point of view. It is obvious that it affects many companies negatively that would have survived without the Corona crisis. So economically it makes sense not to let these companies simply go under. A transfer from the winners to the losers should be in the overwhelming interest of all, because the crash of the economy will then be much less severe. The concrete design of these transfers is of course difficult. But there is certainly a practicable way to to whom the entire political spectrum will be able to say yes.

The important thing is that this happens quickly and that the liberal order is only temporarily disrupted.

Martin Janssen is professor emeritus for financial market economics and entrepreneurs and a Board Member of the Swiss Risk Association.

Translated with

Become a Member

Sign up today and enjoy our member benefits.

Read more

Corporate Packages Overview

New packages 2024 now available: We offer various corporate packages tailored to the specific needs of your company. Join the exclusive community, gain valuable insights and profit from networking options.

Find out more