Tuesday, September 26

Lower taxes, recentralize and prolong nuclear power plants: the PP’s solutions to the state of the nation

Lower taxes. It is the solution for everything that the PP includes in the resolutions to the debate on the state of the nation that they have registered this Wednesday in Congress. Is there an inflation problem? Deflate income tax. Does it increase the risk of child poverty? Reduce taxes. Does the energy crisis question the supply, and its price, before winter? Lower taxes. Alberto Núñez Feijóo’s party also proposes prolonging the life of the nuclear plants, although none of them are expected to close until 2027. The third leg of the proposals that will be voted on Thursday is also common in their programs: recentralize, be it education or health. Of course, without mentioning the private one after the controversy of the Ayuso scholarships. One of the few differences with Pablo Casado’s PP.

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The PP does not raise any news in the resolutions, which may be amended throughout this afternoon and will be voted on in plenary on Thursday. Like other parliamentary initiatives, the resolutions of the debate on the state of the nation are no more than suggestions or more or less specific requests to the Government. Their influence on the action of the Executive is usually less since, by definition, they are raised by groups that are not part of the Government.

But they do serve to define the politics of each party. The last time there was a general political debate, in 2015, the PP governed. The resolutions raised by the left or the multinational groups were rejected and did not influence the action of the PP Executive. They were, yes, a prelude to what was to come from the 2018 motion of censure.

This is what happens in the case of the resolutions raised by the PP, which include its classic approaches, as well as some more circumstantial ones. In both cases, without news about what has already been announced. Neither in the field of the economy, where Feijóo tries to focus his opposition, nor in that of institutions, the fight against poverty or Foreign and Defense Policy.

The PP has presented a dozen resolution proposals. Each party is free to present the blocks it considers and the content is also not priced, so the mere selection of topics and the framework in which they are grouped say a lot about the intentions of the groups.

The X-ray made by the PP is that of a country doomed to disaster, with a situation comparable to that of the financial crisis that began in 2008 and victim of a “general impoverishment that causes the disappearance of the middle class.” For the PP, the main cause of the current state of the nation is the “destruction of employment”, despite the fact that Spain is precisely in the best unemployment data since that 2008.

Beyond the generic proposals to alleviate this situation, such as “addressing a situation of material deprivation” or a “family protection plan”, the PP is committed to “tax cuts, tax deductions” aimed at “the most vulnerable”. The PP also raises the bureaucratic improvement of the minimum vital income.

In terms of Health, the PP points to the Government as solely responsible for the deficit of professionals in primary care, which would be resolved with an expansion of places in the specific MIR and the creation of a specialty in Emergencies. According to the document, 1,000 family doctors are needed in the coming years.

But the PP does not miss the opportunity to bet on squeezing recentralization as a recipe. For example, with a State Registry of Health Professionals or a “great national agreement” of shock measures, again focused on primary care.

Something similar happens with education. In addition to claiming a generic “freedom of parents” to choose “education and the center of preference”, the PP calls for a “curriculum for the entire non-university educational system” in “the entire territory” with “common teachings”. They also propose “establishing objective criteria to promote, evaluate and title” the same throughout Spain.

Like the university entrance exam, EBAU, which should consist of “a single test for the entire Spanish territory.” The differences between autonomous communities is usually used by the right to do politics. This same Wednesday, the president of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, has pointed out that there is discrimination against Madrid students who, supposedly, stay out of the universities they want to the detriment of those from other areas of the same country.

The reverse of these measures is in the passionate defense of Spanish, the victim of alleged persecution in those communities with a co-official language. Despite the fact that Feijóo has championed this cultural wealth, his parliamentary group calls for his “non-discrimination” and to bring the new regulatory framework for the so-called “linguistic immersion” in Catalonia to the Constitutional Court.

What Feijóo’s PP does not mention is private education. Not a reference after the controversy over Ayuso’s scholarships to families with incomes above 100,000 euros per year for private centers. A debate that the president of the PP resolved with a sentence in which he seemed to be, at the same time, for and against.

Another of the resolutions calls on the Government to promote the defense of the Transition as “the fundamental basis of harmony between Spaniards and the overcoming of the Franco dictatorship” as well as to “intensify the recognition of the victims of terrorism as an ethical reference”.

The PP makes an express mention of ETA, which disappeared 11 years ago and after the parliamentary spokesperson, Cuca Gamarra, dedicated a third of her initial speech on Tuesday to talking about the terrorist group, which surrendered in 2011.

As for the serious energy crisis that Europe is experiencing, and which could intensify if Russia maintains the war in Ukraine when winter arrives, the PP insists on reducing taxes as the cornerstone of its solution. In addition, it claims as an “indigenous resource” to “promote a new closure schedule, extending the useful life” of the nuclear power plants currently in operation.

To do this, of course, it is necessary to “reduce the current excess of taxes” and impose a “stable price”. But, in addition, the solution proposed by the PP collides with a reality: the closures are not scheduled to start before 2027, so prolonging their life could hardly help in the current crisis.