Portugal debates future of welfare state
...redefining the state’s responsibilities is highly contentious for many Portuguese, who see universal health care and education, free or subsidised
at the point of delivery, as fundamental achievements of the 1974 revolution that overthrew 48 years of dictatorship. The government’s opponents fear it wants to destroy the welfare state. (Zimmer note: The welfare state destroyed itself with inefficiencies, corruption and typically bad... unrealistic forecasts).
“There appears to be an enormous divergence between what the Portuguese believe the state should deliver and the amount of taxes they are prepared to pay,” he told parliament recently. Taxes have already risen substantially. The 2013 budget, the toughest in living memory, includes income tax increases of about 30 per cent. Mr Gaspar described the tax rises as “enormous”
. ... austerity measures that have pushed Portugal into its deepest recession in 40 years, with record unemployment reaching close to 16 per cent.
A sweeping review of the state’s role is due to be completed by March and is required by Portugal’s international lenders – the so-called “troika” of the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank - to generate an additional €4bn in spending cuts over the next two years.(Zimmer note: Isn't Socialism wonderful... you get to lose autonomy too! Others dictate to you; it's like losing a war where the victors demand you kneel and mend your false ways).
“About two-thirds of public expenditure goes on social transfers
and employment,” said Abebe Selassie, the head of IMF’s mission to Portugal. “But benchmark indicators show a lot of inefficiencies in the way social spending is targeted
.” (Zimmer note: emphasis added).
Medical fees more than doubled in January. The cost for using emergency services, for example, rose from €9.60 to €20, partly to discourage people
with minor ailments from going to hospital. The number of people seeking emergency treatment has since fallen by 10 per cent. (Zimmer note: emphasis added).
“Paying more for better services would make sense, but not just to keep things as they are
,” said Cidália Juste, 52,... said state medical fees were already too high. (Zimmer note: emphasis added).
The prime minister, said António Arnaut, a member of the opposition Socialists and a founder of the national health service, is bent on a “neoliberal project to destroy the welfare state”. (Zimmer note: Too late... Socialism... its greed, corruption and ineficiencies killed Socialism... as it always does.)
Portugal debates future of welfare state - FT.com