Ignacio Marco-Gardoqui: Give the prawn hard


Madrid

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Amid a flood of positive economic data, the Government has published its spending ceiling, designed specifically for the general contentment of the citizen troop. Employment is recovering impressively and growth picks up pace. So that no one is left behind, no one will be left without your monetary joy. Public employees will be more, pensioners will earn more, the minimum wage will rise (you will see it) and even the autonomies will have their share of happiness assured with greater injections of money (payments on account). The re-election is on the right track and, of course, it will not be due to lack of interest or attention.

But if we apply the ‘zoom’ and look at things more closely, the joy is tempered. The growth boost stems exclusively from the improvement in domestic consumption, because investments are stagnant. The first shows that, here, as soon as the doors are opened to us, we jump out onto the street and start consuming, we occupy the terraces and block the roads. The second is a bad thing. It assumes that companies have not just seen the horizon clear or, perhaps, that they are crouched waiting to see how the European money arrives that will lower their investments. And employment has improved a lot … in the absence of specifying how the people, more than 300,000, who are still sheltered in the ERTE, pending to return to their old jobs or move to the next row, the unemployment.

In this environment, the complacent spending ceiling designed by the Government arrives as a starting trigger for the process of preparing the General Budgets. If you look carefully, you will see that first setting what we want to spend and then looking for where we will find the necessary income to finance it is still a careless attitude. But it is custom, of course. Then there is its size, a historical record that surpasses that of the previous year, without even having initiated a timid consolidation policy that allows us to cover, even partially, the deep chasm that we have between both parts of the equation. Thus, foolishly and silently, we have accepted the extraordinary expenses incurred during the pandemic as good and permanent.

And if you calculate the increase in income that growth will provide, you will see that we still need to resort to the deficit and, even so, we still lack 15 billion that nobody knows where they are. On an undisclosed tax hike? I suppose. So give the shrimp hard. That they no longer take it away.

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