On the wages of politicians

I want to deepen the topic about politicians’ wages I have started here. If the reform passes, that is, “yes” are more than “no” and at least 50,01% of the italians entitled to vote goes actually to vote, the Senate will be completely transformed. From the actual 315 members it will be shrinked to 100 members not directly elected by the citizens anymore but choosen (how they will be chosen is still a mistery) among the local governors and mayors of the largest cities. Also, the CNEL (Consiglio Nazionale per l’Economia e il Lavoro), a consulting organ that during its whole life did just something more than nothing, will be dismantled.

These two things will bring a public expenditure cut estimated around 150 millions per year. How much is it? Too little, a drop in the ocean, since talking about italian public expenditure we talk billions, around 800 billions per year, to be a little more precise. The cut will be around 0.02%.

So, where is the problem, you may ask? Italy is pervaded by a wave of populism, for years; I don’t name those people, there’s no need to do it and they don’t deserve to be mentioned, but a lot of people have been following them and their ideas since then. According to these people the cause of all problems here in Italy is the caste of the politicians, earning thousands of euros without deserving not one, those politicians that here in Italy earn much more than they would in the other western countries, those who are supposed to earn more than the President Obama in spite of their being local MEPs.

It is a problem of perception.

In the era of internet, where informations are available for everybody, on tap, the price is the privacy. So, today we can know everything about a politician, just google it; sadly, most of the times are fake news or only those which emphasize their wrong behaviors, such as their absenteeism. Since generalizing is much easy than go in depth, than make distincions, we tend to consider all of them as lazy, slackers and thieves, because non of them is honest and unsullied, we tend to think.

The fact is that corruption and malfeasance were present in the so calld first republic, too, but we weren’t not aware, we knew less about it simply because there was no way to know certain things, all you knew was thanks to newspaper, many of them directly financed by the parties, and the news on tv which, at that time, were much more sober in delivering the news. Now and then, corruption and malfeasance were what sell newspaper but, due to the limited technology and the higher privacy we were simply less aware of it.

For the record, the gross wage of an Italian MEP is higher than other similar countries but you also have to consider that the tax pressure in Italy is one of the highest of the world. Is this wage too much? Isn’t it enough? I don’t know, I’m not in charge to establish it and I can’t do it, as well as you. There is not a market for MEPs nor a national contract. It’s just based on our perception.

If you want to see some numbers, check this pages (sorry but they are in italian).


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