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  Nr. 4169 de miercuri, 27 februarie 2008 
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In electoral mood
I think we have a problem when analyses by an union are better grounded and more realistic than those the government provides to taxpayers. And the problem is not the unions, but the government. Instead of the classical pattern with unions always making claims and ministers doing their best to resist pressure, in Romania ruled by Calin Popescu Tariceanu and Paul Pacuraru the government has been making lively promises and unions are now worried that such promises aren't 'sustainable'.
The pension system may be the most obvious example of blunt lie prepared for the electoral season. But this time the lie hasn't worked with unions.
The BNS (National Union Federation) has demanded authorities to revise the evaluations grounding pension raise promises. And it has been noticed with no surprise that the latter aren't actually grounded. Theoreticaly, things look all right: statistics, estimations, cliches and so on. Difficulties emerge when comparing the data on the population structure sent to Brussels to those used in the country. The government's version, always optimistic, underestimates the number of the elderly Romanians and overevaluates Romanians good for work. This is why the pension won't reach as high as promised on average term. In brief, the unions have concluded the government has got enough means to keep the promise only in 2008, a clue that the grand 'strategy' is more of a suicide attempt to persuade the retired into voting for the PNL (National Liberal Party) instead of the PSD (Social-Democrat Party) at least once in a lifetime. And there is no more.
I don't think there is anyone expecting minister Paul Pacuraru to succeed in persuading someone on the opposite, at least not after the failing idea to tax gifts. An idea of a deeply Romanian liberal nature, motivated only by the Labor Ministry's obstinate wish to get some extra money for the budget.
Instead of solutions to improve the business environment, hence the income to the budget, the government, who is liberal only in theory, is obviously seeking a way out by short term measures with immediate effects. But fiscal blunders risk having negative efffects stronger than the present government's life expectancy There is also the significant deterioration of macroeconomic indicators, the rating cut and the electoral years that looks more than exhausting.
Until the late 2007, calming sentences like "Romanian economy is not at all influenced by the political situation" were somehow true, given the inertia. But it no longer works for 2008. Economic decisions are politically motivated more and more often and their temporal horizon includes just a few months. The business environment is more and more unpredictable, not last because of the government's play with taxes and fees. Romania's position within the EU is weakened by incidents such as the car matriculation fee or the budget deficit on the edge, which may be sanctioned by Brussels authorities. Moreover, state institutions don't seem to come to terms on any matter.
What Mugur Isarescu, the governor of the National Bank of Romania, said yesterday, namely that the fiscal policy's quality is very poor, is a clue that the National Bank is unwilling to make use of all means available under any circumstances. It may also be a warning that the fiscal policy, which only the National Bank of Romania is in charge of, won't serve the electoral engine that has already started going.
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