Monday, 18 July 2011

Silvio Berlusconi pleasing the locusts?

Friday, July 15 2011. Silvio Berlusconi and his ministers manage to get an emergency budget approved, hope the “speculator locusts” will like it (certainly none of his allies will).

Another nail in Berlusconi's (political) coffin? It surely is. Italy history's second largest emergency package (and the quickest one) won't make many people happy. If someone thought that Berlusconi was going to get rid of IRAP (a local tax on manufacturing activities), well they will be disappointed, because – so -far – the government decided to increased its rate, instead. Did North League's Umberto Bossi expect an improvement on fiscal federalism? Not this time, the Italian regions will get less money.

Did anybody expect a serious cut in MPs expenses? The topic was amended by Berlusconi's Freedom Party, so there won't be any reductions in their wages or in their multimillion euro perks.

But Berlusconi will say it'a all Giulio Tremonti's fault, the only minister who's lacking "team spirit" (as the prime minister declared in an interview a week ago).

The rules in the package are the same old ones: getting money from the car owners (a surcharge on vehicle excise duty for cars with an engine of 225 kW or more), from the tourists (10 euro tax in Rome), from the sick men (surcharge on health services). Money from the increase of the fuel excise – another evergreen way to (at least try to) balance the books in Italy – was already collected in July to finance the costs of the emergency on immigrants and to fund the show business.

All this, made the Italian way: the package is worth 47 billion euros, but the bulk of 40 billions is going to be “collected” in 2013 and 2014, saying “who knows who will be in charge by then”.