There is so much talk about the welfare state vision that it can already be pictured in a physical manifestation – riding as if the Vytis, which was not allowed into Lukiškės Square, on its heavyset horse. Just that instead of a sword in hand, the rider carries a torch of happiness. Especially considering that the vision of happiness economy has not yet yielded the political stage to the welfare state in Lithuania, Valdas Bartasevičius wrote in lrytas.lt
So why not include this discordant voice into the choir’s ranks. After all, one voice more or less – it’ll probably not distort the overall sound. Plus, this is a new opportunity to dream of a nearing, if slowly, future welfare – the next year’s budget discussions will begin soon.
Those, who already proclaimed before G. Nausėda even took office that his talks about the welfare state in Lithuania are worthless slogans, should now be red with shame.
Overall, it is time to come to terms with biblical truth – in the beginning, was the word. Only then come actions. True, sometimes they don’t, getting lost somewhere in the dense forest of words and drift off into the distant, even very distant future, which can’t even be seen on the horizon.
The vision of the welfare state in Lithuania declared by the president managed to avoid such meanderings and arrived in not only the hearts of people longing for it but also into government offices.
Whatever angry sceptical voices may claim, the beams of the welfare state vision have seemingly penetrated the annual state budget plans encased in permafrost.
What is the welfare state?
You can ask all you want, what is the definition of the welfare state, you can be outraged that no one answers and if they do – it’s not what the asker expected. In the end, what does it matter how to define good?
Let everyone have their own interpretation, what matters is that it would be good for everyone or at least for those, for whom things do not just always get worse no matter what.
The president’s words about the welfare state have now settled into almost all the politicians’ vocabularies, even of those, who would like to envelop them in profanities.
G. Nausėda’s proposals to gather an extra 100 million euro for increased pensions and grants did not escape the ears of the minister of finance, who successfully headed the president’s advice to study up on what the welfare state is and the proposals are now taking shape to augment the budget.
However, the income sources are sought elsewhere than what the president proposes. It wasn’t even worth talking about reducing the exemption on diesel fuel for farmers because it was clear from the start that a red line the “Farmers” will never cross even if they greatly want to retain decent relations with a president, who communicates politely and avoids conflict.
However, the proposal to raise the untaxed income size (NPD) probably hit right where the “Farmers” themselves were aiming already, just that instead of the 330 G. Nausėda proposed, they remained more generous with an increase from 300 to 350.
400 EUR and the welfare state
It is unclear whether this way the head of state came to the aid of the majority – they can now say that they cannot enact their promise of an untaxed income size of 400 euro due to poorer economic forecasts next year, as well as because of them heeding the president’s wishes.
The decision, which trade unions (also businesses seeking lower employment taxation) dislike can be shifted onto the increasingly musclebound with new rating shoulders of G. Nausėda, while the ever unhappy trade unions can be reminded that the welfare of parents and the elderly should matter to them no less than their members’ incomes.
There should be no illusions, it’s never otherwise: some receive, from some it is taken away.
The calls of ever so wise economists for the government to look to increasing the welfare pie, rather than cut it up differently, conceal an effort to buy time and retain the overly low for an EU member state level of redistribution of the GDP through the budget.
However, the vision of the welfare state, even without agreeing on its definition, cannot be imagined without greater redistribution of the good created. Just that at this place, it is impossible to peacefully come to terms. The peacefully inclined president is faced with a looming war.