The troika saves us from ourselves

I have to admit, I fear the day the troika will stop landing on Lisbon to verify our accounts, to remind us of our commitments and to sign cheques. This fear grips me a little tighter each time I read what is promised on campaign posters by candidates for local elections [held on September 29]: free school text books; free medication; free retirement homes; free vaccinations, etc… There is a sort of madness for free things “right now” which culminated with a martial arts school’s promise (free, that goes without saying) to combat crime in a northern town [Vila Nova de Gaia] and, in the south, with an equally fallacious guarantee of local programmes to fight unemployment.

Knowing that the local authorities will neither cut their expenses or their complex bureaucracies, these programs will never turn into reality. Or worse still, they will result in additional new jobs in these bureaucracies themselves or municipal enterprises – a practice which led to the need for an emergency appeal for help from the troika in 2011.Because local authorities have abandoned neither their reckless spending habits nor their complex bureaucracies, neither these programmes will never see the light of day.

Fear grips me even tighter when I hear [Socialist Party leader] António José Seguro say that he will not accept further budget cuts but fails to explain that this is not possible without raising taxes even higher, and when I realise at what point the PSD [Social Democrat Party] and the CDS [Christian democrats] are impatient to be free of the tyranny of external control in order to immediately freely pursue new promises of things that are “free, right now”.

Read the whole article here.

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