This weekend the trail of electoral promises began, ‘gift vouchers’ for scholarships and political strategies of all kinds and levels to win votes within the barely three months left for the first electoral date of the year, which will continue without without a doubt an early call to the generals after the summer. The progressive Executive of Sánchez has a clear advantage in this area of the donations with public money that are going to be launched, as necessary as they are opportunistic, but that are going to come from a collection that, despite the economic slowdown in the first semester, is pulling sharp rise due to consumption that does not subside and domestic demand dangerously increased by inflation. Everything is more expensive, but more money moves from the most flexible part of the economy, citizens and their income. The default of the banks of the previous great financial crisis does not exist now; On the contrary, mortgages are always paid even if you have to eat cheaper.
On this economic basis, an electoral political strategy of releasing huge amounts of money on paper to bring the State box to fill the polls, but it will be very effective in the face of the polls, first, and the motivation of the most vulnerable classes at the time of voting, later. If a clear counterweight is not established from the right in the form of an economic argument that explains things and convinces the public that behind checks there is always smoke or overdraft accounts, the economic populism of ‘who gives away good sells’ will make them a serious hole in all elections. And if this is successful in the municipal and regional elections, via State money and inaugurations of old projects that ‘the others’ abandoned, a wide path is opened to reach the general elections with that flag.
The skilful handling of macroeconomic data by those who have the methodology for its preparation under their control is not going to allow us to talk about a recession in Spain this semester, not even in Europe, no matter how true it may be. What is under the parameters that mark the GDP is worrisome. Only an exaggerated rise in interest rates in Europe with the forcefulness that they have done in the US, due to an escalation of the war in Ukraine, can lead to a sudden stop in the economy, but that does not seem to be the main concern if the energy prices drop and allow inflation to moderate in half a year. On the contrary, continue this downward trend in inflation with more social assistance, further cuts in VAT on meat and fish, all in order as the electoral campaign progresses with headlines and collections rise, it could be even more Useful for putting ballots in the ballot boxes.
The rise in pensions and the SMI are already a base on which to pivot the concept of “social justice” that Sanchista socialism sells with relative success before public opinion, in the face of the ‘only yes is yes’ fiasco, which is about the ‘podemita’ backpack, and the mistake of the PP before the abortion law. With this scenario and without being able to blame Sánchez for an economic recession that is ruining Spain, everything points to the fact that the heat of the regional and municipal political battle is going to focus largely on the health issue (if the crisis of the bailiffs does not go love). The swords are held high between the model of a universal public health system that has been sacred and very deteriorated in recent years; and the liberalizing system of private management of a public service, which the PP defends and both Feijóo in Galicia and Ayuso in Madrid have taken to their ultimate consequences.
The real risk that is run with this confrontation is that it has become an ideological issue on both sides with signs of becoming radicalized, with people on the streets permanently and politicians in their offices with no options for agreement. From a technical point of view, it confronts the concept of ‘health citizenship’ that converts public coverage into a universal and equal right for all Spaniards guaranteed by law even if its cost is outside the market, with that of efficiency in management and the loss of public control of the service that it may entail.
Faced with the war of figures and arguments (true, false or half) that can be launched from one side to another, what must be clear when evaluating the options are two things: on the one hand, the need to offer a quality service (professional and organizational), so that primary care and emergencies, which is where citizens first arrive, are not a chaos that generates rage and impotence among health workers and patients; and on the other hand, a system of good governance that not only measures the standards of efficiency and costs, but also establishes models of civic and democratic control of health. In other words, that they take good care of us and that those politicians on both sides for whom healthcare, at least for the next few months, will only be measured by the number of votes, should not deceive us.