Pedro Sánchez and the reformist biennium



Pedro Sánchez, this week at the headquarters of the Institute of Foreign Trade


© EUROPA PRESS
Pedro Sánchez, this week at the headquarters of the Institute of Foreign Trade

The President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, tries to take the political initiative that he lost with the Madrid elections and the crisis with Morocco. His first initiative has been to address the call Catalan problem , for which it seems essential to get the independence leaders out of prison. Only in this way could we achieve the political stability that our economy needs to grow from solid foundations.

Addressing the territorial problem is just one part of a broad modernization plan for Spain that will be launched in a few months. The Government hopes that in July the European Union will definitively approve the Reconstruction Plan. It includes the main structural reforms, which had been pending for more than a decade that no government, neither the PSOE nor the PP, has dared to tackle. Now things are different, changes must be made no matter how unpopular they are or else the promised 140,000 million for the next few years will not reach.

Terms

The changes have to go ahead or there will be no European funds

Sánchez has no choice but to make a virtue of necessity and take advantage of the two years remaining in his legislature to do what has not been done so far. Somehow we are facing a new reformist biennium, like the one that took place in Spain between 1931 and 1933 after the Second Republic was proclaimed. On that occasion, it was also the progressive forces that joined the nationalist parties to face the changes necessary to get Spain out of the backwardness it had accumulated compared to other European countries. Then also the rights grouped around the CEDA were those that opposed with all their might so that this process did not come to fruition.

Among the reforms, one of the most important was also the territorial one. A series of Statutes of Autonomy were agreed to try to satisfy nationalist aspirations. With this, it was hoped to temper, through the pact, the independence aspirations of a significant part of the Catalan people.



GRAF7991.  MADRID, 10/26/2020.- The President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez (d) together with the Vice President of Economic Affairs, Nadia Calviño (i) during the Conference of regional presidents held this Monday in Madrid where the distribution of the European reconstruction funds.  EFE / Chema Moya POOL


© Chema Moya / EFE
GRAF7991. MADRID, 10/26/2020.- The President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez (d) together with the Vice President of Economic Affairs, Nadia Calviño (i) during the Conference of regional presidents held this Monday in Madrid where the distribution of the European reconstruction funds. EFE / Chema Moya POOL

However, the process stalled because the Catalan and Spanish bourgeoisie never managed to reach an agreement. There was only one occasion when that path could have been traveled. It was in 1996 between José María Aznar and Jordi Pujol with the so-called Majestic pact. But that magic was broken when the PP achieved an absolute majority four years later and no longer needed the votes of the Catalan nationalists to govern in Spain.

Despite everything, the centralist and peripheral bourgeoisie share the same economic model and the same interests. The only thing that confronts them are identity issues, even though they have the same model of society, the same way of life, the same beliefs and the same values. Both are aware that they are needed to make their countries and their businesses prosper. A revolted Catalonia prevents the stability necessary for the economy to grow.

But the rights are not going to facilitate other reforms such as the extension of the welfare state either, because it goes against their own model of society based on more liberal rather than social democratic approaches. They place more emphasis on freedom and individual effort than on the collective. That is why all attempts to reach a consensus on the reform of the public pension system have failed and will continue to fail. And the same can be said for healthcare and education. Conservatives trust the private sector more than the public, just the opposite of the left.

Measures

Tax reform is one of the great objectives

The other great reform is the fiscal one. The right wing will try to avoid it by all means and promises that when it comes to power it will reverse it. Raising taxes is essential for progressives in order to finance a broader welfare state and a more robust public sector. For this reason they intend to equalize the tax burden to the European average, which would mean revenues for the State of more than 80,000 million euros per year. Conservatives believe the exact opposite. They intend to lower taxes because they understand that it is necessary to move towards a basic welfare state where the needs of the poorest are covered, but not of the middle classes.

Justice reform, increased productivity, the fight against poverty and the ecological transition are many other issues in which there is not the slightest harmony to reach a common commitment, as happened during the transition years, which allowed the most prosperous and free period in our history.

González, Biden, Draghi

It is 25 years since Felipe González left the presidency of the government. It is seen in top form and with very little desire to become a Chinese vase, that object so valuable that it is useless. Perhaps that is why, from time to time, he goes out to preach and make amends for the president on duty. He even remembers that he is the same age as the president of the United States, Joe Biden, who “is doing superbly well.” What do you mean by that? Would you like to be the Spanish Mario Draghi?

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