Everyone has already talked about the unusual lack of coordination that prevails in the Government.
It was the Pedro Nuno Santos episode.
It was the rate of excessive profits, which was initially repudiated by Finance, but turned out to be profitable by António Costa.
It was the reduction of the IRC, defended by the Minister of Economy, António Costa Silva, and soon put aside by several members of the Government and others.
In a thoughtful statement, Costa Silva expressed himself in favor of a «transversal reduction of the IRC rate»; However, the Secretary of State for Finance, Mendonça Mendes, the Minister of Finance, Fernando Medina, and even the ex-minister Siza Vieira, Costa Silva’s predecessor, immediately left to settle the matter.
António Costa was brave to invite Costa Silva to be a minister.
First, because he is a liberal and not a socialist; second, because he says ‘what he thinks’, others say ‘what suits him’.
Now, knowing this, the head of the government had a perfect idea that Costa e Silva was going to get into trouble.
And the question to ask is: with what intention did you put him in the Government?
Just recently I wrote that my great hope in this Executive was António Costa Silva.
Not because he will predictably get into trouble.
For being an elephant in a china shop.
But because I have ideas that I share: thinking big, making the country grow decisively, not just betting on micro and small companies and welfare policies, which are very popular but lead to impoverishment.
After the controversy about the IRC began, Costa Silva said in a colloquium that he wants to end «the syndrome of Portugal dos Pequeninos».
Now, it is obvious that here there was a criticism of the very self of which it is a part.
The recently announced social support is a real example: instead of resolutely announcing support for companies to encourage growth, a few crumbs are distributed to families.
Of course, these are votes won.
But with this mentality Portugal will never come out of the doldrums.
People will not improve their lives with a few crumbs: they may momentarily remedy their situation but they will quickly return to the same.
People will only improve their lives in a sustained way through strong, productive companies that can pay well and provide conditions for workers.
And this is not done with crumbs: it is done with tax cuts.
As long as Portugal is unable to complete this vicious cycle, to be overtaken by others.
This is what Costa Silva defended: transversal reduction of the IRC, that is, reduction of taxes imposed on companies in a generalized way.
But then the entire government fell on him… and even ministers from the past.
And it was not a ‘communication problem’, as Mário Ramires well noted last week.
The problem is that Costa Silva and most of the government have incompatible views.
The government’s vision is socialist: support here, assistance there, help there – and that’s how the boat holds up.
Now, Costa Silva has a liberal, more airy, more daring vision: ending the little help from Portugal dos Pequeninos and thinking big.
Costa Silva sees companies as threats to citizens, centers of exploitation of dangerous workers, cells of greedy capitalists apostatizing in enriching the people; Costa Silva sees companies as wealth-creating centers.
In one, I did the following from the last few articles, very simple: private management is quite profitable for public management.
Therefore, the more money there is in the private sector, the more a country is able to grow; conversely, the more money for the State to the private, the less productive the country will be.
This is indisputable.
I think Costa Silva thinks exactly this way: the more money there is in the private sector, the more Portugal can grow.
But most of the government and the Socialist Party think differently.
And here I go back to the beginning: what does António Costa want when he invites Costa Silva to be a minister?
The answer can only be one: to foster internal debate.
But then you have to give signs in that direction.
What we saw just now was a completely helpless Minister of Economy and everybody beating him up.
Well, then, he won’t last long in the government.