"All the artillery must be removed and the country exempt from taxes"

The dimension of the crisis that Spain and the rest of the world is facing reaffirms Lacalle in his approaches: companies and the self-employed must be freed from the fiscal yoke to ensure their survival. For this reason, he describes Sánchez's package of measures as a "donut box".

Do you consider the government's initial action against this crisis negligent?

–Of course, this communication policy of giving pills and treating the citizen like a teenager has not helped anything. They started by saying it was a flu and then they have been entering information. It is normal that people do not trust.

–The Prime Minister considers three months lost in terms of GDP, but he predicts a "quick" recovery. Is it too optimistic a scenario?

It is a scenario that the government should not consider because it is not just a matter of closing thousands of companies in the short term. No one can think that in three months the virus will be contained. But even if it were, we are not going to have a record tourist season, rather the opposite, nor are we going to recover the investment. Companies are not going to spend three months in parenthesis and then grow to 12% -14%. The diagnostic error is that it starts from ignoring the economic weakness from which we started. In the fourth quarter, the country grew due to increased public spending and lower imports. The second mistake is to think that this is a parenthesis, that it will not have an impact on the working capital, balance sheets and the investment capacity of companies, and to think that when the economy recovers we will return to previous consumption levels. . The EU economy has been kept afloat thanks to the services sector, which accounts for 70% of GDP. And this sector is being curtailed by this process. You can't expect the recovery to come as if this was just a flu of the economy.

–Do you think the mobilization plan of up to 200,000 million in guarantees, credits and liquidity seems sufficient?

–They are measures aimed at that completely optimistic scenario of Sánchez. Demand measures for a supply shock problem. The same recipe as in 2009, when the daily collapse of companies and SMEs was covered with increased debt, guarantees and credit to those sectors that already have everything and are protected by demand policies. The measures are aimed at protecting those who already were. And nothing is done for SMEs and the self-employed, who have not been in debt over the years, and do not have large assets.

"Should Sánchez have already removed all the ammunition?"

"You can't save aces up your sleeve for later." In these circumstances, all the artillery must be removed now. But it is that, it has not removed anything from artillery. He has gone into an economic war with a box of donuts. That's not the problem. It is that you cannot tell the self-employed that you are going to periodize your taxes. The approved measures all cancel each other within the text. It is said that the payment of taxes will be made more flexible, but it is postponing. SMEs and the self-employed will be temporarily exempt from quotas and taxes when what you are going to face in the future is not a loss of tax revenue but a brutal collapse. The Government is thinking that in May or June tax revenues will skyrocket, but that will not happen. If your clients tell you today that you are not going to charge for the rest of the year, you do not care if they postpone paying taxes. Cancellations are no longer for April but for November.

–The SMEs that go to the banks complain that the guarantee covers only part of the hole and that they have to face their survival with credits ...

–The guarantees are based on the sustainability of the business. We have already experienced this. The same recipe as the guarantees of the Zapatero crisis. This is not a criticism of the Government but the idea that all the problems of the economy are of demand or credit instead of solvency problems.

–How is that solvency maintained in these circumstances?

-First, inflating GDP with demand measures leads you to prolong the crisis as from 2009 to 2013. We must recognize that what we are going to find is a domino of closings and bankruptcies with a huge impact on GDP. You have to work on two fronts. Eliminate all the budget expenses that are unnecessary in this environment and approve a general tax reduction and an elimination of all the taxes that are a stumbling block to hiring to maintain employment. Eliminate quotes, eliminate minimum and maximum base increases, because you are not facing a drop in income but a massive closure of the economy. The country needs a tax exemption.

That will also trigger public indebtedness.

Well, you are going to have the full support of the ECB, so it is not the end. With the measures approved, the impact on indebtedness will bring us to 120% of GDP. Knowing that the indebtedness is going to grow, the positive thing is to borrow well to strengthen and maintain the productive sectors. But for that, you must also remove all the foam from the expense. You cannot ask companies and families for a war economy and keep the government in a state of bonanza, because neither a useless ministry nor cabinets nor subsidies have been eliminated that now do not paint anything.

- Is it necessary then to reformulate all the economic and budgetary policy for this year and possibly next?

–To begin with, the Government does not have better information on which sectors are going to pull the recovery. The Government, the State, administrations live from the private sector, so what you have to do is let the private sector breathe. Let low-productivity companies survive. The government cannot decide who wins and who loses, but it can remove the pitfalls it has put in place.

- Could a militarization of production or the nationalization of strategic sectors work?

–It would be dramatic. The idea that there are strategic sectors and companies is cheap protectionism.

"How about the anti-takeover shield in the bag?"

–Another ridiculous patch. Companies become impregnable by allowing them to be stronger. Making them more inefficient with an intervention only leads to disaster.


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