Hope for the best and prepare for the worst

This Budget has the central concern of maintaining the “wires” that hold the country. And it only makes sense if it is read in conjunction with the European recovery plan.

Optimism is the kind of quality that a person can never have less, for the simple reason that there is no advantage in being anything else. The optimist always has an advantage over the pessimist, because he believes that it is possible to overcome difficulties and manages to maintain the spirit to continue, even when black clouds swell over the horizon. Imagine what the world would be like today if in May 1940 the British government was led by a pessimist. However, being optimistic is not the same as feeding false hopes and not recognizing the risks. “To hope for the best is to prepare to lose it; that is the rule, ”wrote Pessoa.

This comes with regard to the macroeconomic scenario of the State Budget for next year. The Government expects growth of more than 5%, as do international institutions, but we all know that the reality may be different, because, strictly speaking, the recovery of our economy does not depend only on the Portuguese. For example, no one knows how the tourism sector will evolve, which will be crucial to our recovery. Portugal and other southern European countries may take longer to emerge from the crisis than Germany, the Netherlands and other Nordics, being in a vulnerable position in the face of market pressure. More indebted and in deficit, with the economy growing less than desirable, we would be even more dependent on the protection of the ECB and the goodwill of our European partners (probably benefiting from their concern to prevent the explosion and the consequent exit of the euro from time bomb called Italy).

That said, this State Budget proposal has traces of optimism, such as the aforementioned macroeconomic scenario, but at the same time it provides for the possibility that additional stimulus measures are necessary, giving the Government room for maneuver to implement them. In the end, it is a State Budget that has as its central concern to maintain the “wires” that currently hold the country. And that only makes sense if it is read in conjunction with the European recovery plan.

Another discussion will be to know if this Budget creates conditions for the country to come out of the crisis more sustainable and competitive or if, on the contrary, we will have an even more omnipresent State and an indebted and stagnant economy. It is that, if so, there is no optimism worth us.

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