Thursday, October 29

This Spain of mine, this Spain of ours: A failed state?

At the end of the 19th century, in 1898, Spain entered into collective pessimism. The loss of the last overseas territories and the social, economic and political situation induced it. We were the outcasts of Europe, ignorant of what was happening outside. We did not have Spanish pride again until the Transition and the 90s of the 20th century and the first of the 21st.

From that date, approximately 2008, Spain once again entered its historical nightmare. The economic, social and political achievements of the last quarter of the last century were called into question and pessimism returned to “published opinion.” We thought again that the Pyrenees separate us from Europe.

Extremisms of both signs have taken over a significant part of the electorate. As a consequence this week a European newspaper described Spain as a failed state.

It is true? There are reasons to say so. Territorially failed, with autonomous governments facing the Government of the Nation, even asking for independence.

Institutionally failed because the Government can blow up the image of independence of the judiciary and cast suspicions on the continuity of the parliamentary monarchy. Failed with social agents unable to wake up the Government before the economic catastrophe that is coming.

As of 2008, Spain entered its historical nightmare again. The economic, social and political achievements of the last quarter of the past century were called into question

According to the IMF, Spain will be the developed country with the largest decline in GDP worldwide in 2020 and close to 20% unemployment. Unemployment that is wanted to alleviate with subsidies and Minimum Vital Income that will keep us in poverty, unable to give work young people and those over 50 years of age. Failed because its companies are in international decline.

Failed because it has not been able to defeat a pandemic with one of the best health systems in the world. Failed because the political parties are unable to find reasonable agreed solutions and returns to the front line.

Failed because the League is not what it used to be, even Messi wanted to leave Barça and Ukraine beat us on Tuesday. We only have the nostalgia of the Transition and the Nadal’s 13th win at Roland Garros.

This Spain of mine, this Spain of ours, that Cecilia sang had a more hurtful lyrics. Uncensored was: my dear Spain, this Spain is alive, this Spain is deadWhere is one? Where is the other one?

Dead Spain is the one described in the previous paragraphs. The one that the “new politicians” are giving us. The living Spain was that of the politicians of the Transition, that of businessmen, large, medium and small, professionals, self-employed, workers, civil servants, hopeful young people, hopeful families and immigrants who come to carve out a future and emigrants who leave to the same.

The living Spain was that of the politicians of the Transition, that of the entrepreneurs, the self-employed, workers, civil servants, excited young people, hopeful families

Which of the two will prevail? McKinsey consulting firm says that there are two common factors in all the States that have developed: the free market and legal certainty. The two are necessary and complement each other.

Spain, for the sake of the EU, has a free market (torpedoed by thousands of regional regulations) and, although Alfonso Guerra announced the death of Montesquieu, to date the judiciary had maintained its image of independence.

Against these two factors, the Government of Pedro Sánchez and Pablo Iglesias intends to act. The proposed change for de the Election Law of the Judicial Power Council is an attack on the image of legal security by electing its components by a part of Congress, instead of forcing the consensus to maintain the image of balance and independence.

The rise of certain taxes towards confiscatory rates (close to 50% or double load like the Wealth Tax) it’s an attack on the free market. Citizens must participate in the expenses of the State with their contributions. For that, a law against tax fraud, like the one approved Tuesday by the Council of Ministers.

But approaching 50% of the Income Tax leads to: abandonment of investment to other places, increase in tax fraud, reduction of economic activity, disincentive for savings … In addition, the complexity of tax legislation attacks legal certainty.

Do we want this Spain of mine, this Spain of ours, to look like Venezuela or …? Well, you know, to sign up for one or the other.

*** José Ramón Pin Arboledas he is a professor at IESE.

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