“The two great flags of populism are still waving, a little tattered and dusty: citizenship income and quota 100. A little lower than before, however, almost sadly. Those two flags had been entrusted with the announcement, indeed a little too imaginative, that Italy was changing its destiny, finally able to take care of the weak and to open a bright path for the youngest, if not to “abolish poverty”.
Extensive program that was not implemented. So far we have spent about 20 billion on income (flag of the grillina) and more than 11 billion for quota 100 (flag of the League). And now the slogan of “rethinking” hangs on the first measure, if not the threat of a referendum. And on the second hangs the end-of-year deadline, when the loan generously granted at the time of Count one will be exhausted and what to do next will have to be decided.
Arguments that at this point intersect with Mario Draghi’s government agenda, forcing him to navigate between his convictions as an economist and his duties as prime minister.
So far, in fact, the premier has avoided taking too clear-cut positions. He gave Salvini some hope on the possibility of retiring a little ahead of time (perhaps 102 instead of the legendary 100 quota) and declared that he was in favor, at least in principle, of an intervention in support of those who found on the fringes of the job market. Pronouncements recited without too much emphasis, and perhaps even with a modicum of skepticism. Very well disguised, however.
Now, with the approach of the budget law, the two issues are coming to a head, and Draghi will have to take particular care in determining, together, the figures and the arguments at stake. Indeed, he finds himself in the midst of two opposing pressures. With the Northern League leader ready to go against the citizenship income that in his time voted happily. Income that the Democratic Party at the time did not share and which has now instead made in the name of the alliance with the M5S. A scheme that could be overturned on the side of pensions, where it is precisely Salvini who insists on keeping alive the insane legacy of Count 1, also backed by the unions, while his allies look at his difficulty with ill-concealed satisfaction.
The fact is that at the beginning of this story the two branches of populism had resorted – together – to the oldest tricks of the much-hated politics of yesteryear: more public spending to curry favor with citizens (and especially voters). With two aggravating circumstances, however. The first: to give money too casually just when the world that counts – and that counts – is ready to make us pay for any excess of ease. The second: to accompany those donations with a poisonous opinion campaign through which they wanted to celebrate their new virtue and condemn with adequate severity the ancient vices of the reviled predecessors. All accompanied by a meticulous attention to propaganda and a much more distracted attention to public finances.
We’ll see how Draghi tries to solve this puzzle in the next few days. From the first anticipations it is clear how he does not want to engage in too bloody battles. And how, however, he intends at least to correct some of the excesses he has found to inherit. Especially those on the social security front. Which will require him to have a quiet and diplomatic shrewdness.
If this were the case, it would mean that once again we are thinking of getting out of the excesses of populism with great measure. Without anathemas, without humiliations, without too abrupt turns. As if to say that while the rise of populisms almost always occurs with a certain noise, their decline is accomplished, if anything, with a sort of grace towards them. Trusting that they will reciprocate so much grace by voting for a government that has an almost-quasi-technocratic profile and taking a seat next to those parties against which they had long turned their indignation “.
(by Marco Follini)
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