Storia dell'articolo

Questo articolo è stato pubblicato il 10 novembre 2012 alle ore 04:59.
L'ultima modifica è del 10 novembre 2012 alle ore 03:42.


In the polluted debate over the Italian crisis, politicians and economists turn too often into caricatures of themselves, caricatures that face each other confident of their own truths: austerity supporters against development supporters. This way, things are reduced to a conflict where the only loser is the possibility of giving timely answers to the worst recession in the postwar years.

In fact, everyone knows, or should know, that we won’t overcome this crisis if we don’t keep together austerity and growth. One cannot exist without the other, especially in Italy, where the introduction of taxes aimed at boosting growth is compromised by the massive public debt we all are experiencing.

Keeping growth and austerity together means taking advantage of all resources and all opportunities offered by existing laws and of every available reformist energy in order to inject gas into the economy’s engine. We cannot rely on resources that are not clearly defined. But for this reason we cannot afford to miss any opportunity that can spur growth and recovery.

First of all, the stability law should be changed. After adopting a questionable approach, the government finally understood the need to devote resources toward reducing the labor tax wedge. Now Parliament is focusing its discussion on what to demand from businesses and workers, respectively. In this case too it’s important that ideology stay out of the debate. If the priority is growth, then resources should be distributed so as to achieve this goal.

A General Accounting office official published research on his own showing clearly that focusing tax cuts on businesses (in this case, the Giavanni plan) rather than families produces better results, both in terms of growth (1.46 percent of GDP as opposed to 1.28 percent) and of employment (21,000 new jobs). While there can be different approaches, it’s a good idea to take these figures into account. Similarly, it’s not clear why there is so much stress on a threshold of 500 million euros for the access to corporate tax credits on projects realized through private funds.Giorgio Santilli explained yesterday in Il Sole 24 Ore that in Italy 99.9 percent of contracts are under that threshold.

Defending that requirement means excluding most companies and infrastructure. It’s a masochistic attitude, given how badly the sector is doing, according to data released yesterday by Cresme. Yet another opportunity to grow or, more realistically, to fight recession risks being missed for no apparent reason.

Having growth as a priority also means considering productivity a priority. In this case too ideology and partisan interests should not be the reasons opportunities are missed. The negotiation between unions and employers’ associations is very close to resolution. The statement that employers, who are finally united, are working on is very similar, except for marginal details, to the one CGIL backed on October 17. Raising questions over representation, which so far wasn’t part of the negotiation, means taking on the responsibility of a possible failure on the crucial issue of development.

There is more: Basilea III. The credit crunch that is strangling businesses could become even more acute due to the new capitalization requirements banks are subject to. There are no budget constraints on this issue. It’s possible to act. In the U.S., the Federal Reserve reacted by delaying the implementation of the requirements. Why is Europe waiting to follow the Fed on this issue? To also avoid replicating the dangerous asymmetry that would otherwise follow?

Above are four examples of feasible solutions. These measures are possible, and they could boost the economy thanks to their pragmatism, without putting into question the need for a balanced budget. Using the rhetoric of austerity and growth is perhaps more appealing, but it’s only through serious and possible actions that we can find a way out of the tunnel.