Yesterday, Mario Monti stated he was not to blame for the human consequences of Italy’s crisis. Italy’s press wasted no time in twisting Monti’s words to read that he said he was not to blame for the increasing number of suicides in Italy.
Italy’s Prime Minister also observed that those who have reduced Italy’s economy to its current dire state should pause and reflect for a moment or two. Monti made a point of not referring to any preceding governments in particular, but his message was a very clear: Don’t blame me for troubles caused by others.
Monti later clarified that he not use the word suicide in the speeches various Italian papers purportedly quoted from. Somebody, suspects Monti, is trying to make cheap political mileage out of warping his comments.
Regardless of the actual words used, it sounds as if Italy’s current Prime Minister has had enough of certain people insinuating that it is the actions of his government which are to blame for the increasing number of Italians killing themselves, often in connection with mounting debts.
Not Monti, but Who he Replaced
Monti has a point. After all, he was called in as a troubleshooter because his predecessor Silvio Berlusconi was clearly not up to the job. While Berlusconi cannot be blamed directly for businessmen in Italy killing themselves, he did waste an extraordinary amount of parliamentary time on attempting to pass laws which were of little benefit to anyone aside from himself.
Prior to Silvio Berlusconi taking hold of Italy’s reins, his predecessors did not do a fat lot to stop Italy sliding into its current precarious position. Too many of Italy’s politicians spent their time bickering and not acting constructively. Not only did they do very little, if anything, to prevent Italy’s decline, they also devoted far to much time to protecting their own interests.
Today one Italian political rag accused Mario Monti of washing his hands over the suicides – Monti has no reason to do this, other hands were washed long before he came along.
No Help For Small Businesses in Italy
No legislation was passed to ease the cash-flow of Italy’s many, many small businesses by forcing others to pay them within 30 days or less.
No methods to make the settling tax debts easier were devised, and no attempt was made to ensure Italy’s public sector paid its debts to private sector partners within a reasonable time. Nor was anything done to ensure that Italy’s tax authorities paid refunds in good time either.
Italy’s politicians have done nothing to ensure Italy’s banks assist small businesses.
One could also mention Italy’s snails pace slow legal system too, which still does not have an effective and fast small claims system. Guess who should have reformed that?
All in all, no suicide prevention mechanism was put in place. Instead time bombs started ticking. The bombs are detonating now.
An Intolerable Burden
The combined effects of zero, or very little, reform have increased the burden for small business owners in Italy, who are also providers of livelihoods to their employees, to an intolerable level.
Some of these poor, abandoned people have had enough and decided to take their own lives. A new story of a business owner committing suicide seems to be appearing daily in Italy’s press.
Time for Italy’s Politicians to Act Responsibly
By placing the blame on Monti for the suicides, Italy’s political parties are passing the buck. It is high time they acted more responsibly, and, as Monti has said, reflect. This also means that instead of trying to hinder Monti’s government at every turn, the politicians should work with it.
Monti is not to blame for all the suicides, but previous administrations are responsible for the human consequences. It is time they give a lot of thought to the grave consequences of their inaction as it as has proved fatal to some poor Italians.
What is really sad is that many of these deaths could have been avoided – if the politicians before Mario had done their jobs properly.
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