I've been catching up on my reading, and just recently got to some Spiegel magazines.
There's an article in Spiegel 51/2007, from 17.Dec, that talks of the German "Gerechtigkeitslücke". This is best translated as "justice gap", and points to the fact that apparently the distribution of income in Germany has gotten steeper, rather than broader.
Of course, the article in question - couldn't find any link to it, but it's in that particular issue - found all the reasons why German income inequality has worsened: globalization, manager's greed, awful capitalism, the usual suspects.
What they didn't talk about was the fact that Germany, with its reliance on VAT for a good portion of its income, uses a regressive tax system that means the poor bear an larger burden of taxes, proportional to income, than the rich.
Hence here is my recommendation for helping the poor in Germany: get off their backs. Sink the proportion of government spending of GDP from over 40% to less than 30%, and that 10% difference should be used to reduce the VAT.
Anything else is a waste of time, and will only ensure that the poor will continue to be worse off, rather than better.
Likelihood of this happening: nil.
Likelihood of any German politician realizing what the problem is: even smaller.