In the spring of Draghi's bonuses, the self-employed always come last

In the spring of Draghi's bonuses, the self-employed always come last

In the spring of Draghi's bonuses

A country in structural crisis like Italy does what it can to support wages and the purchasing power of citizens in general. And if it is true that in the end a momentary cut in the excise duties on fuels has arrived that we had been waiting for forty years, extended until the beginning of July, it is equally true that even the "government of the best" is struggling - despite the monumental National Plan of recovery and resilience (Pnrr) - to go beyond the logic of bonuses. Just like the era of Conte I and Conte Bis, pre and post pandemic, with little difference.

The recent aid decree worth 14 billion euros approved the latest provision of this kind: a bonus from 200 euros for those with gross incomes below 35 thousand euros, for a total commitment of 6.5 billion euros. This is a one-off measure, coming for retirees and employees between June and July. For the self-employed, also mentioned by the Prime Minister Mario Draghi in the press conference, they are still groping in the dark: it is not clear when and above all how freelancers (VAT numbers but not only, there are myriads of different kinds of collaborations) request given that for them the automatic payslip or pension does not exist.

Self-employed workers in Italy are over 5 million people. We are one of the European countries with the highest number of people who are not dependent on anyone. For this reason, it is always rather perplexing to any such measure to witness the total unpreparedness of the politicians and technicians who work with them just thinking about the delivery methods for this audience, which often becomes a fairly indecent puzzle.

It is likely that, as for Covid bonuses, it will be possible to pass through the respective social security institutions that could draw on a specific fund. We will see. For now, no one seems to want to reassure millions of workers or guarantee them that once again they will not have to face a via crucis to get what everyone else deserves. Italy is a republic founded on paychecks, commented someone discussing it on social media: it's true. But as we have seen, this is not the only way. Italy has also changed in recent years but from politics the self-employed is always considered in a somewhat residual, parallel, accessory way.

The single allowance for children, the only exception to this approach that tries to extend the subsidy to everyone, however, suffers from a huge underlying problem: it is very little, even in the presence of low ISEE thresholds. For many families, government support for raising a child is a bank transfer of 50 or 100 euros per month, nothing else considering the drama of kindergartens, with only 23% of the potential audience of children up to 2 years covered by public facilities. A notable disgust that forces families to pay huge outlays of at least 600 euros a month and hunt for private individuals. For those with only one child and an average income, the bonus is little more than a small fee with which to pay for a few packs of diapers.

Not enough. This spring seems to be bonus season for the Draghi government as well. Let's be clear: some are sacrosanct, these are important supports although often insufficient. The problem is that in many cases these are bonuses that just go to alleviate market distortions or overt and scandalous shortcomings in welfare that should instead be addressed in an organic and strategic way.

In addition to the social one to support families with lower ISEEs, a discount for bills extended to the third quarter of the year that should not be needed in a country with a balanced energy balance and low system charges, there is also a bus-metro fund for cuts in public transport subscriptions for students and workers with low incomes about whom nothing is yet known. In the meantime, despite Draghi's opposition, the notorious building Superbonus is extended by 110% which has created so much work in the sector but which is subtracting important resources with the explosion in prices for renovations and other works covered by the benefit up to irremediably drugging the market. It is money that, as we said, could be put on structural items but that the premier struggles to touch because the 5 Star Movement tightens around its own measure in the usual rearguard battles in which Giuseppe Conte is specialized. The Rent Fund is also increased by another 100 million euros to support access to rental housing, and perhaps there is no more structural issue than this, with the housing crisis that millions of people live especially in large urban areas and public housing is stuck if not hostage to illegal occupations.

Out of the latest provision, and within the government plan for ultra-broadband, a 300 euro voucher for families is finally in the pipeline for the activation of connections at at least 30 Mbps maximum speed in download, made with any technology available. Also in this case, if in principle it is difficult to disagree, the fact remains that the market already offers rather affordable rates and that the issue is more related to culture and digital citizenship rather than the umpteenth gift to pay for the connection.

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