A 'horribilis' decade

It is not enough to throw money at problems. It is urgent to make a correct diagnosis in order to be able to prescribe the appropriate medication.

Portugal will end the present decade with the same foot that started it, the left. The distance was not very long between the impending bankruptcy of 2011 and the serious public health problem that has already caused immense deaths and that has led to the loss of freedoms that we previously thought guaranteed. The last few times have not been easy for us Portuguese.

In economic terms, I highlight that the average annual growth rate of our economy in the period 2011-2020 will be -0,1%, which means that, for the first time since there are official records, there will be a decade of wealth destruction in our country. parents. A result that harms people, because as we know it is only possible to improve general well-being if we grow economically.

At the same time, the State has become increasingly indebted. When Portugal applied for foreign aid in 2011, the public debt was at that precise moment at 97% of GDP; a value that at the time was already considered very high. Now, we will end 2020 with a debt of 135% of GDP, that is, 87 billion euros more than at the beginning of the decade (synonymous with more taxes that will have to be paid in the future!).

If it were not for the monetary policy measures of the European Central Bank (ECB) - “buying” large volumes of debt - in the context of the current pandemic then we would be in trouble. It should be remembered that, although Portugal has the third highest debt ratio (even worse, only Greece and Italy), interest rates on Portuguese debt have registered extraordinarily low values. Will the ECB maintain this massive asset purchase policy ad aeternum? I do not believe.

In view of the structural problems that characterize our economy and the evident weaknesses in the state machine, what do political decision makers propose? A set of initiatives based on the premise that the State must spend more. But instead of incurring non-reproductive expenses, or opting for the easy path of megalomaniac public works, wouldn't it be desirable to relieve, as far as possible, taxes on companies and families at a time when the tax burden is at record levels?

In fact, how many taxes and fees does the state charge today? Nobody knows. By the way, wouldn't it be beneficial to carry out a real reform to make the State less bureaucratic, in order to make life easier for those who develop their productive activities? Unfortunately it seems that it is easier to create more fees like the one that will now apply to Netflix ...

A decade ago horribilis there will have to be a decade (post-pandemic) of vigorous economic recovery and debt reduction. It is not enough to throw money at problems. It is urgent to make a correct diagnosis in order to be able to prescribe the appropriate medication.

The author writes according to the old spelling.


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