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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Free lunches by Robert Golob

By: Peter Jančič (Spletnicasopis.eu)

The last vote in the third reading is still missing, and the Levica party will succeed in achieving the nationalisation of supplementary health insurance. Therefore, they will achieve the “reform” that caused the collapse of Marjan Šarec’s government because the former finance minister, Andrej Bertoncelj, was not willing to take on the risks at that time. If they succeed now, starting from the new year, we will pay mandatory and voluntary insurance to the Health Insurance Institute. The second one will also be mandatory. Whatever is lacking, and there will be a significant shortage, will be covered by the state budget. Coalition MPs have already decided to urgently enact a third mandatory contribution, which will also be collected by the Health Insurance Institute and proposed by the Levica party. It is for long-term care.

Last year, the ruling party postponed the already legislated additional care for the elderly for a year. Now, the new Ministry of Solidarity Future, led by Simon Maljevac (Levica party), has revealed what, in their assessment, was truly missing in that law: a new contribution. Money. A lot of money. Every employed person will contribute two percent of their gross income (one percent individually and one percent paid by the employer), as well as every self-employed entrepreneur and farmer. Retirees will contribute one percent of their pension. On average, each citizen will pay an additional approximately 500 euros annually. Two parents with average incomes will pay a thousand euros annually. Those who are better paid will contribute even more. If it was already true that our country is not attractive to investors due to high taxes and contributions, the situation will worsen with these additional mandatory levies.

In the meantime, the ruling party in parliament has “solved” the issue of alleged child hunger in schools due to low wages. They approved, based on a proposal by the March 8th Institute, which was also established by Minister Maljevac, that meals for children from wealthy families, such as the children of Prime Minister Robert Golob, will also be free in four years. Since parents with average incomes will be paying a thousand euros more annually to the state, there will be considerably less money for children’s meals in an average family budget in the future. Currently, one-fifth of children receive free or subsidised meals, mainly coming from socially disadvantaged families. The number of subsidised meals has been slightly increased by lawmakers this week. In four years, according to the legislation, all meals will be free. And, as explained to us by the representatives of the March 8th Institute, children from wealthy families will no longer go hungry because of this. Whether Golob will still be the prime minister at that time remains to be seen. So far, multiple terms have only been achieved by Janez Drnovšek and Janez Janša. New faces have never succeeded. And of course, it is untrue to claim that the meals will be free. We all know that there is no such thing as a free meal. We will all pay for them. The ruling party did not introduce an additional contribution for these meals, as it would likely have caused a revolt when it became evident that the contribution would be higher than the price we already pay for these meals. Redistribution of state funds comes at a cost. Maljevac’s efforts are not without consequences.

When Kordiš crushes Mesec

While the Levica party and the ruling party have had some successes in collecting and spending money, it is somewhat surprising that coordinator Luka Mesec has found himself in trouble. The party did not support him as the leader at the congress, even though he stated that he was running for the last time. He had also already eliminated Violeta Tomić, his competitor for power, before last year’s elections.

The voting had to be extended due to the lack of quorum, and it turned out that the most votes were gathered by MP Miha Kordiš with his more communist faction, while the result of Minister of Labour Mesec was rather dismal.

There are objective reasons behind Mesec’s troubles. Although they are part of the ruling power today and determine the government’s policies with new contributions and state expenses, the Levica party was a catastrophic loser in the elections. They plummeted from 9.3% in 2018 to 4.5% last year. They barely made it into the National Assembly. Mesec managed to “achieve” more than halving their result. It is poor consolation that Gibanje Svoboda party took away their voters. Defeated generals are rarely rewarded. After such a failure, presidents usually resign or seek successors. Most of the other parties in the former KUL coalition experienced even greater disasters and did not even make it into the National Assembly. Marjan Šarec (LMŠ) and Alenka Bratušek (SAB) relinquished their positions as party leaders by handing over their parties to Golob, thus securing ministerial positions for themselves. Mesec also received one when he won. On the other hand, DeSUS, which did not receive a single percentage point of votes, remained without ministerial positions, and the entrepreneur Marko Bandelli, who started his rise to the top by taking over the Primorska branch, received compensation for parliamentarians for a while because the Gibanje Svoboda party could not find a suitable position for him after the elections, and he could not find work. Eventually, he found employment in his own company.

However, the week was victorious for political officials and parties in other ways. For the parties, because they doubled their monthly subsidies in the coming years in the collegium of the President of the National Assembly, Urška Klakočar Zupančič (Svoboda). These subsidies are the main source of party operations.

For officials, the victory came in the form of a wage increase, which was demanded by the Constitutional Court after ruling that judges’ salaries were too low and poorly adjusted, which, according to their decision, constituted a violation of the constitution. Since these salaries are part of the official system, the logical consequence will be an increase and improvement in the adjustment of all official salaries, including those of MPs, ministers, the President of the Republic, the allowance for the spouse, and the pension supplement for Milan Kučan. However, former President Borut Pahor will be excluded from this system as his entitlement to compensation will expire at the end of the year, and it does not apply to him, as specifically determined for Kučan, that the presidential supplement is lifelong.

But Pahor does not really need it. If he decides to run in the next elections, he will almost certainly be re-elected. He has been elected in every election so far. Only Janez Janša (SDS) shares this characteristic.

The vision of the past

What is the vision of our current ruling political elite, who impose new mandatory contributions on us, increase their subsidies and salaries, was evident at the beginning of the week when Prime Minister Golob explained how they do not plan to expand the highways into three lanes at least around the capital, where they should have been for some time in a normal country. As a solution, he offered us railways, where the authorities are trying their hardest to achieve a level that the Austro-Hungarian Empire once offered in this area. A level from the 19th century. They are repairing old winding tracks that will never allow a journey from Maribor to Ljubljana in half an hour. Drivers pay for the use of roads. The same goes for railways. But they do get parking spaces. And speeds that we can all be ashamed of.

It will also be difficult with the construction of a new nuclear power plant, as the Prime Minister explained. Apparently, nothing is possible in our country. Except for installing solar panels that cannot be connected to the grid. He announced a referendum on the second block of the nuclear power plant, which could further complicate matters. It is strange that he did not announce a referendum for the closure of the first block.

“Nothing is possible” could almost be the motto of this government. Even in the field of healthcare. But despite the belief that nothing can be achieved in this country, the ruling party has accomplished a lot in recent weeks. They have introduced new contributions for the people and increased party subsidies. Everything is possible there.

Source: Spletni časopis

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