Start one of the most decisive electoral campaigns of recent times with the economy trying, with elbows, to make a hole. The economic slowdown is a reality to which Spain, as a good service-intensive country, arrives late and now launches notices only for those who are willing to serve them. The five main national parties according to the polls propose a bunch of measures that raise wide frontiers, especially in taxes and the size of the State. A key issue at a time when Spain is the second European country with a greater public deficit, with more than 30,000 million holes. While PSOE and Podemos propose to raise the taxation to high rents and large companies, PP, Ciudadanos and Vox raise a massive tributary descent, eliminating Successions, Patrimony and lightening IRPF. In the case of Vox, they also bet on a cut in public spending of 24,000 million.
Interestingly, there is an issue that seems to be shielded from the debate: before the imminence of the ballot boxes and the muscle shown by the 9.71 million pensioners in the streets, the five parties defend guaranteeing that the benefits ensure the purchasing power in the short term. «Pensions must maintain their purchasing power. The revaluation will take into account both the CPI and other indicators that ensure the simultaneous compliance with the principles of maintenance of purchasing power, "defends the economic guru of the PP, Daniel Lacalle. Vox, for its part, proposes to move to a mixed public and capitalization system: it would be mandatory for those under 25 and voluntary for those between this age and 45 years, with an impact on the coffers of uncertain Social Security. Another coincidence between PSOE, PP, Ciudadanos and Podemos is the reduction of the number of contracts to make the labor market easier, although beyond this section each one proposes different formulas. From Vox bet to reduce compensation for unfair dismissal from 33 days to 20 in the case of undefined. The agreements do not seem simple. Of course, as the last point in common between some economic spokesmen, when asked if they see themselves as ministers, everyone blushes, apparently.
Pedro Saura (PSOE): «The new regional financing will not exclude any community»
Will the SMI be one thousand euros in 2020 with the goal of converging to 1,200 euros at the end of the term?
It will be a progressive increase, yes, until converging to the objective of 60% of the average salary according to international agreements.
But the IMF estimates a 14% unemployment in 2020 and calls for reforms. Are they going to reduce the number of contracts?
Yes, it is necessary to make the Spanish labor market more efficient and fair. We also want to repeal the asymmetry of the employer against the worker in the labor reform.
With regard to pensions, what measures will you propose to the Toledo Pact?
For us, the public pension system is non-negotiable. We believe that sustainability must be protected so that retirees do not lose purchasing power.
Do you plan to set tolls on highways to pay pensions?
It is not in our plans in any case.
If they win, will they try to approve the Budgets for 2019 again or would it work with decree this year?
As the president of the Government said, the intention is to take to the Congress a Budget project with the bases of the previous ones that knocked down the independence movement and the right.
Until the Budgets were approved, in the extension, the Treasury plans to contain the investment.
What happens with the investments is that the PP budgeted a quantity but the execution of those investments was very low. Taking advantage of this margin of execution, it is possible to continue betting on investment without devaluing the deficit and debt objectives.
But you announced 10 billion investments in the first half of 2019. How does this come together?
They are 10,000 million euros in tender, the step prior to the award and investment. The tender has an effect on this and the following Budgets. The increase in the bidding compared to the previous year is understood because the Budget was not executed. And the deficit will be respected.
In the new financing model, are they open to debt relief or a concert with Catalonia?
No, the regional financing has to be agreed with all the communities, without excluding any, and political forces. We do not think of any exception like the one that poses to me. And we will defend the harmonization of the inheritance tax and the inheritance tax against the tax competition to the downside.
Brussels and the IMF say that the deficit must be further reduced. How will they do it?
The collection grows more than the nominal GDP and we propose a moderate rise to high incomes and large companies, with more than 0.5% of GDP as it came in the PGE. In addition, the Government will be analyzing and approving the necessary measures in environmental taxation. The Vox and PP alternative will generate a hole of 18,000 million euros, a fiscal crisis.
What about the rescue of the highways, the RPA? Already in 2018 they counted 1,800 million in deficit. And in 2019?
We are evaluating it. The deficit in 2018 would have been 2.4% and not 2.6% without the effect of the RPA.
Will the minimum vital income be approved once upon arrival or will they be linked to the Budget?
It will be done with a social and political agreement, which we would also like. And once done, will move to a standard and Budgets. The improvement of families' disposable income is the basis of growth.
Daniel Lacalle (PP): «Sanchez's economic policies are ZP with steroids»
You have entered politics in a difficult campaign, do you remember the one in 2008?
Of course. In the first place, because of the attempt to discredit one of the candidates, now me and then Manuel Pizarro, and secondly to try to deny the evidence of the very serious economic slowdown. The deceleration can be faced with serious policies as we propose, what the PSOE sells is the policy of the cicada, with the aggravating circumstance that now the ECB can not lower rates or inject more liquidity. In addition, we are already breaching the path of stability with the deficit and we have a debt that is around 100% of GDP. If in 2011 increasing the imbalances was irresponsible, now it is much more because we face the change of cycle without fiscal or monetary space. Sánchez's policies are those of ZP with steroids.
What is your proposal to balance Social Security accounts?
There are two key actions. The first and fundamental is to create employment, just the opposite that the PSOE has done. The second is to understand the problem of pensions from a global point of view. Pensions and social security account for the rest of public expenditure. The Spanish pension system accounts for around 11% of GDP and is perfectly fundable. But it will only be sustainable if economic policies are made to attract investment, capital and greater wealth. It is the only way to maintain and grow the pension system.
Do you guarantee your link to the IPC?
Pensions must maintain their purchasing power. The revaluation will take into account both the CPI and other indicators that guarantee the simultaneous fulfillment of the principles of maintenance of purchasing power and sustainability. When the country was on the brink of rescue, the PP not only prevented us from having to ask for it, but also ensured pensions and their revaluation. That is what we guarantee and without any doubt we defend. That pensions grow because our economy will also grow, attracting investment and creating jobs. A pay-as-you-go pension system is sustainable and can grow and improve when employment and investment attraction is guaranteed and that is only guaranteed by the PP.
What about the quality of jobs?
For employment to gain more in quality and continue to improve the fundamental thing is to end the remnant of unemployment. This increases productivity, attracts more and larger companies and automatically increases wages and contracts are long-term. As of course is not achieved is taxing high productivity sectors to subsidize low, as does the PSOE.
How is your fiscal revolution?
It is precisely to establish a growth-oriented tax system, in which we will lower taxes so that families and companies, which are the ones that best manage their own resources, can continue to do so. This is what the leaders of our economic environment are doing. And works. It grows more and is collected better. We also propose an administrative highway to reduce the time lost in bureaucratic procedures and introduce measures to facilitate contracting, which is still difficult and expensive. In Spain, up to 40,000 million potential growth could be unlocked through market unity measures. And finally, we will guarantee social spending to build quality education, strengthened healthcare and guaranteed pensions. We are talking about strengthening the welfare state, not about strengthening the welfare of Mr. Sánchez's State.
What model of regional financing does it propose?
I am a great defender of the autonomies and I think they have a lot of value. But we must find a financing system that is not perverse and that prevents those that fail to benefit and those that comply, no. In Europe there are systems similar to the autonomic one that work very well. We can reach a dialogue with the Communities to expand their resource management capacity while extending credit responsibility.
Would Germany be a model?
Germany is an example, but it is not the only example. Although it is true that we have decentralized models in some countries that are very efficient and why are not we going to move towards them? This idea that the solution is to end everything collides with reality. France is an extremely centralized model and yet it is not an efficient model.
Is it more profitable electorally to announce increases in social spending than tax reductions?
I do not think so. People know that social Fridays are actually wasteful Fridays. It is evident that there is a lot of demagogy in these policies because then they are the first to break them. People understand perfectly that PSOE is synonymous with unemployment. But is that PSOE and Podemos and I do not even want to imagine what it can be. However, announcing tax cuts is not an electoral issue. We speak of important proposals to strengthen the business fabric, to strengthen the disposable income of families and because, simply, it is a question of justice. Eliminating taxes that double or triple the taxation that has already been paid in the past is fair. The citizens are very tired of the socialists see that others always have room to pay more taxes and they never have room to manage better.
Toni Roldán (Cs): «The Government's labor proposal responds to a world that does not exist»
- What would be your first step if Citizens arrive to the Government?
-They would really be three. First, the educational issue and human capital in general. I wish I could go ahead with the pact for the education that dynamited the PSOE. Second, the labor market, put an end to duality and precariousness and offer stability to young people. And third, recover institutions to curb corruption.
-What is your tax proposal?
-The key when we talk about taxes is to have a commitment to reforms that maintain growth in order to lower taxes because, in an open economy, high taxes only manage to scare away human capital and businesses. Our objective is to reduce the IRPF and eliminate Successions. We already made a reduction to three million mileuristas in the latest Budgets. And we did it by meeting the deficit and with Europe. It is the same populism to say that you are going to spend more without explaining how to balance the deficit than announcing reductions of all taxes.
- Is not populism guarantee the rise of pensions to the IPC without working on its sustainability?
-In Spain we have a giant demographic challenge. It is true that we must ensure that those who have worked all their lives maintain their purchasing power. But we can not say that we are going to raise pensions and cover our eyes without saying how. We have a pay-as-you-go system and, if those who put up with the system are the most precarious labor market in Europe, this will end pensions. We must undertake labor reforms that allow greater stability in hiring. We need a single contract that eliminates that invisible wall that prevents young people from progressing and policies that favor the birth rate and the reduction of the generation gap.
-And in the short term?
-In the short term we need measures that incorporate the demographic and GDP evolution, as well as others to help make compatible the prolongation of working life with the collection of the pension. There are many workers who have been unemployed in the last years of the crisis, and therefore their pensions will be lower because it will affect their calculation although they may have a working life of 40 or 45 years.
- Would they support taking all their working lives to calculate the pension?
-Yes, we would support it.
-What do you think about the increase in the minimum wage?
-Forma part of the populist economic policy that has led the PSOE in recent times. The logical thing is that the minimum wage increases with the productivity of the economy. If not, you generate unemployment. We are in a world in which it is increasingly difficult to enter a living wage and that is a serious problem, but there are much better solutions. We propose negative taxes or the salary supplement, a kind of insurance against precariousness that consists in making that, below a certain level of income, which is set at around 17,000 or 18,000 euros, instead of paying taxes you receive a transfer of the State.
-You pushed at a Google rate when governing the PP to be approved before October, but now criticize it. What position do they have?
-It would be ridiculous to implement a Google rate at the national level, since what you are going to achieve is that the companies go to the country next door. It's ridiculous to try to fight your solo, we defend doing it with Europe.
-They want to eliminate the deputations
-Deputies are anachronistic institutions, once we have the autonomous communities and municipalities. Now we have up to six levels of administration and that does not go anywhere. In this country there is much talk of spending more, but we must start talking about spending better, evaluating public policies, subsidies and institutions
Nacho Álvarez (Podemos): "We want everyone to retire when they contribute for 35 years"
-How do you propose to guarantee the sufficiency of the pension system?
- The reforms of 2011 and 2013 posed the sustainability of the pension system wrongly, because they only monitored financial sustainability but not social sustainability. The 2013 reform is dead and we are going to a scenario in which pensions will be linked to the CPI. The 18,000 million we have of deficits have to do with the fact that we have not recovered the levels of employment that we had before the crisis and, above all, that salary levels are lower today. In order to meet the short-term challenges, a labor market reform is needed that guarantees the growth of wages in parallel with that of productivity. We also consider the dismantling of contributions above 3,500 euros and the elimination of bonuses that companies have and we want to repeal the sustainability factor.
- Would they also disregard the maximum pension?
-We are not in favor of the disbanding being accompanied by a similar growth of the maximum pension proportionally.
-What labor model do you propose?
-We are very worried about precariousness and we believe that it is a situation that is not justified. There has to be a reorganization of contractual relationships in our country and we have to transform the temporary contracts that are used in such a fraudulent way in a generalization of the indefinite contract. For that we defend a single temporary contract, which is discouraged so that if there are dismissals that do not correspond to the causality of this figure can be declared null, and an indefinite.
- Would the compensation for dismissal?
-In temporary we would raise it to 33 days per year but it is not in the program to increase the indefinite one.
-You have used the labor reform to dismiss below this level
-I did not lead the party organization, but we stick to the law
-But the law allows them to have fired with more days of compensation
-We abide by the law
- What about the retirement age?
-We support the elimination of the sustainability factor and that everyone can retire with 35 years of contributions.
-And what fiscal measures do you propose?
- We aspire to close the revenue gap with Europe by half and reduce the public deficit year after year.
-The PSOE proposes to converge completely, raising the fiscal pressure to the same level as the EU average
-I am surprised because there were many points of the budget agreement with them that were not met and the only way to guarantee that this does not happen again is with a coalition government in which Podemos is. The Government in the negotiation of budgets was modestly austere, stubborn and cowed. He had to be pushed to take measures he did not want to take. The paper does not hold everything.
-Do you have any specific measure for SMEs to gain muscle? It is one of the great problems of productivity and competitiveness in Spain
-One of the frontispieces of our program is a «Green New Deal» that develops large investments in several axes, above all, the ecological transition axis, a purple axis of infrastructures, education from 0 to 3 years and a dependency system and all the investments necessary for digitization. That is why we propose to create a public investment bank that one of its objectives is the increase in business size. One of the competitiveness problems we have in Spain is productivity, and one of the factors comes from small companies, not large ones, which have productivity levels similar to those in Europe. This investment bank, one of its objectives, is to finance and sponsor incentives so that the merger and acquisition processes between SMEs are more intense. Right now we do not have these incentives, the investment bank does not finance these operations. It is interesting to do so because in the microenterprise, in addition, there is no collective bargaining. Nobody negotiates with his family member, the one at the bar, who has hired him a few hours. Therefore, the profit of business size improves tax collection and stabilization of employment.
-But when creating a type for SMEs and another for large companies as they propose in the background are putting a new obstacle to the gain in size ...
-I do not think so. What we propose is a nominal reduction, very small for those who bill less than one million from 25% to 23% and in any case what we think is operational is the minimum rate that is set. We want large companies to pay, at least, a rate of 15% in Companies once all the deductions and reductions have been made. Probably, even if this is approved, large companies will continue to have a smaller type than SMEs because of the configuration of the tax system. Therefore, what we are trying to do is to bring together effective types of large and small and for that, we have to lower taxes for SMEs and raise them to large ones. We will also limit the negative tax bases, since none of us is allowed to have negative tax bases sine die until the end of time. There are 100,000 million euros consolidated in the balance sheets of large companies accounted for as tax credits and we want to reduce their amortization period for the compensation of losses to four years.
- The investment bank that proposes how it would be structured? Would it be a kind of ICO?
-It would give an institutional restructuring of three entities that we already have: Enisa, Cedeti and ICO. By organizing under the same umbrella we would additionally give it a much higher budgetary and capital power.
- Who would decide his presidency?
-We are supporters of a public bank with two legs: Bankia and the investment bank. And we want that in both cases it is reorganized who appoints the president so that it is in the hands of the three fifths of the Congress. There has to be a clear mandate, with very specific objectives that do not pass like the boxes before the crisis and that have appointments chosen by Parliament, as in the RTVE contest.
-But with RTVE there has been controversy over the politicization of the process that in the case of a bank has the precedent of what happened with the savings banks ... would not it be necessary to shield the management of the policy more?
- That it is appointed by the Government does not mean that it depends on the Government. We have set ourselves a lot in the example of the Bank for Reconstruction and Credit, with a clear mandate of what investments to make, how to select projects and we think that one of the criteria must be profitability. But to protect that mandate better, it must remain in the hands of Congress, and not the government of the day. There is always going to be controversy with these things.
-The Governor of the Bank of Spain was voted in 2006 for the first time without consensus in the case of Miguel Ángel Fernández Ordóñez. Three fifths is not consensus either
-It is a degree of relevant consensus. It can not happen again that the appointments to each government that arrives, as we have seen.
-How is Bankia's aid going to be returned?
We have argued that Bankia should not be privatized, not so much to cover the investment, that this is the investment bank we have talked about, but to intervene in universal banking. We have a problem of exclusion at this time in certain territories. Especially when we have emerged from the crisis with an important oligopoly, with a greater concentration of assets than when the crisis ended. In order to recover the redemption, all the entities will be subject to an additional tax in Companies of ten points.
-But so it will take more time to recover than if you sell and get immediate returns
- Yes, but the sale of Bankia, if it is made at current values, would imply significant losses. And we are not willing to have significant losses with a useful instrument for the economic policy of the country outside the perimeter of the State. In a decade we can see a significant return.
- And then it would be privatized?
- At this time we do not propose the privatization of Bankia.
-But this hits Brussels
-We look for the privatization of Bankia in the Memorandum of Understanding for the bank rescue to Spain. No this. The Government has plenty of room to not privatize Bankia. It would be a negotiation like any other.
- But to state the ports does not clash with the European directive of the stowage? And the VAT on luxury products?
- I believe that there are spaces of negotiation with Brussels always, and we see it in many subjects. If we enter the Government we are willing to open these spaces and many others. In Italy, for example, a specific rate is applied to luxury, which is not VAT but something else.
- Are going to raise the VAT to some product?
-It's not in the program.
- Do you consider that the rise of the SMI is a disincentive to productivity? Because the rise has not been made in parallel to the latter.
-The growth of the SMI that has done is to recover part of the lost ground after being frozen a decade while productivity has been increasing above.
-The productivity grew significantly but by the destruction of employment, not in relation to productivity per hour worked
-If we look at the last two decades, we have that the growth of productivity has not been accompanied by wage growth in any case. Inequality is a growing problem, and we are seeing how the savings rate is at historic lows. The crisis has sharply cut wages while there were sectors and companies that increased their margins by 15%.
-But the pace of job creation is going down
-We are not seeing in the labor market a negative effect of the rise of the SMI. We see that the behavior of employment follows an elasticity very similar to economic growth, so that this decline is more linked to the slowdown. Within a year we will evaluate and analyze. But I think that the positions that point to the SMI as an element that has hindered the creation of employment are interested positions.
-The Bank of Spain itself has said
-The Bank of Spain has an agenda like any other actor.
-How do you think to fight robotization? Would you support making the robots quote?
-No, what we want to accelerate technological progress in our country through the investment bank so that Spain is better prepared to combat robotization.
Víctor González (Vox): «We will hit the public sector with € 24,000 million euros»
-I do not understand how someone who now earns 12,001 euros and no longer pays IRPF will benefit from the tax reduction they propose
-What we do is the biggest tax reduction to 97% of Spaniards. To calculate the impact of our proposals we have used simulations of two and a half million statements through the data of the Institute of Fiscal Studies. We want to introduce the Basic Needs of the Taxpayer (NBC), which are exempt from taxes, imagine that their basic needs are 7,000 or 10,000 euros, since it begins to be taxed from the 10,001 euro. The one who had the exemption of 8,000 will have it over 10,000 now. It is not that it is better, it is that it is much better. Plus the exemptions for the number of children, the numbers give us that there are cases with up to 20,000 euros exempt or more depending on the income. We carry the Personal Income Tax in two tranches with a rate of 22% and 30%. With the NBC to higher income you receive, the discount is lower so it is progressive. This applies in countries such as Ireland, Poland, Hungary or Croatia, which have the most growth.
-With your tax deduction to IRPF and Societies and the suppression of Inheritance, Patrimony and municipal capital gain, how much do you think GDP will grow due to the drag effect on the activity, since you want to meet the deficit?
-What we see is that the slowdown that we are having can lead us to a recession, not because of us, but because of the environment that may be worse than we expect. I can tell you that if we enter a negative GDP growth of 0.7% with our formula we see that we do not destroy employment. This reduction will have a positive effect on activity, although the State would lose 3,500 million in revenue. When we encourage consumption, we have the Laffer curve and with an error of 0.01 we know that the figure is that. It's called empirical certainty. And we want to meet the deficit target of 0.5% of GDP in 2020. For the part of the expenditure we are going to put a blow to the Administration of 24,000 million.
-They also propose to cut employees of the Administration by replacing only 50% of those who retire
-We're not going to fire any official, but we will lower the replacement rate to 50%. There will be some administrations of the State where they will be renewed less and in others, more.
- In Health and Education would apply the replacement rate of 50%?
-Sanidad is a very generic term. In some areas yes and in others no.
- Would they advocate the extension of paternity leave or the rise of the SMI?
-And what are you going to do with unemployment benefits?
-We will provide compensation for dismissal to 20 days, from 33 for current unfair dismissal. Those already hired will keep their rights: the change is for those who contract after the reform.
- I understand that this will be for the workers that are hired from the reform, not for the previous ones.
-The former retain their labor rights, is for those of after. In addition, companies that have left Spain will be allowed to return with a rate of 12.5% of companies. We hope that there is a very clear claim effect. Second, we will reduce the social contributions paid by the company.
- But to put a rate of 12.5% to the companies so that they return and another of 22% to which already they are as they propose does not attack against the norms of Competition of the EU?
-No, the cooperatives already pay 20% when the general rate is 25%. Different types already exist in other cases.
-Liberalizar Lotteries and State Betting as proposed to do with Red Eléctrica Española and Aena?
-That question I will not answer. Lotteries is a state enterprise, it is historic and what it would do would be to remove the tax from those who win the prizes.
-What is going to be done with Bankia?
-I'm not going to tell you, but I prefer that it be private to be another ruin for Spanish taxpayers.
- Would they continue linking pensions and CPI?
-Yes, it will remain linked to the IPC, but we will offer a mixed system of capitalization. Those who are over 45 years old will stay the same. Between 20 and 45 can choose to go to a mixed voluntary system and those who join, to a mixed system of capitalization.
- Are you going to publish the tax amnesty list?
-I would like it if it can be done legally, it is done. And in that case not only will it be done, but it will be ordered to investigate all the political positions that are on that list and inspect the fortunes that are inside, where they come from and how they have been formed.
-El Tribunal Supremo –al ratificar una sentencia de la Audiencia Provincial de León– señaló que usted cometió «irregularidades contables relevantes» en la empresa Marmolería Leonesa y le inhabilitó para «representar o administrar a cualquier persona» en tres años. ¿Qué ocurrió? ¿Cree que esto le inhabilita para administrar el Estado?
–Lea la sentencia que es pública. El Supremo a mi no me ha condenado a nada. Cualquier respuesta sobre esto la haremos desde las redes sociales de Vox.