We, the people, or at least the huge majority of us, don’t really care about economic policies or plans, present or past. Never mind future ones. Few of us care about the economy beyond the money in our wallet. The usual attitude is: if we have enough to pay for our food, our mobile calls, our housing and our car, all else can go to hell.
The majority of us, except for the select few, or the rabid followers of the PN, accept at face value what government spokespeople say ad nauseam: we, as a country, are doing well. Actually they add we are doing very well and in fact all our figures are positive, beating EU averages to a pulp. All is healthy, all is hale. So criticising or pointing out some deficiency means you must be on your way to a sanatorium for the unfit, or totally negative. Alternatively, you are a deluded fanatic of all things PN.
As a country we have never been too savvy about looking at the long term. If we are doing well, why worry about tomorrow, or the day after, or, more to the point, why worry about the time when the going stops being good and what we should do to get ready to face an economic downturn.
So what am I implying? That we are living in a bubble or some similar old cliché? Let’s imagine we have it all really right and all is moving swimmingly. Let’s stretch our imagination and think all is proper in our economic picture.
The deficit is down; employment is up; business could not be better; our level of growth is good and the sun shines on us. Tourism is feeding us beautifully, the financial sector is still robust, and the motor of our economy, property development, is going so well that we have even bandied about the idea of adding a few extra towers on land that is not there. Yes we have even contemplated building on the sea in a masterplan fit only for geniuses and master planners.
This, as they say, is music for any economist’s ears.
But what if tourism hits a snag or, as could happen in any market, hits a few downturns? What if the long-expected but still swept-under-the-carpet EU tax harmonisation happens, whereby our attractiveness as a country for attracting businesses here is diluted or nullified?
What if the iGaming miracle fizzles out of the country? Are we prepared for the haemorrhage? The loss of jobs for our locals who will have to find alternative employment, probably less lucrative. Will this then lead to a less burgeoning rental market? Would we be able to face the glut on the property market?
And if the pivotal property development is affected wouldn’t the economic miracle turn rather sour?
The money coming in from passport sales is a good cushion for all this. But again, besides the unanswered question of where these monies are parked, what will happen with these piles of cash? Will they be dished out to help the under-earning men and women who had lucrative jobs now lost? Train people with them? Kickstart new markets to help us out of our fix?
Would it then be time to think up the much-clichéd, but never truly devised, Plan B? Do the government spokespersons or government itself even know what Plan A is? Because by the looks of it—and I am definitely no expert—they have no clue what our plan right now is. Except to let things lie and hope the days of downturns or silly economic recessions never hit.