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Questo articolo è stato pubblicato il 04 agosto 2011 alle ore 10:45.


The 2008 run on money funds has not arrived nor is it even on the horizon, fortunately. The worldwide interbanking system is going through a complicated phase so staying alert is mandatory. The indicator of the delicate situation caused by the American debt crisis, which unfortunately regards everyone, is called "Money Market Funds" and it is measured by the speed with which these monetary funds sell off the sovereign bonds in their portfolios.

They are the weak link of the worldwide financial chain and are living in the fear that millions of investors, especially in the absence of a bipartisan agreement in the United States, show up on Wednesday 3 August and ask for their money back so they can transfer it to banking accounts. These funds today do not have this money or they do not have all of it. They will raise it by selling off the sovereign bonds of those countries they obviously feel are the most fragile.

In this context, we have to deal with a spread between BTp and Bund that remains extremely high. This is an unequivocal measure of the widening of the gap between Italian and German interest rates. We are well aware that our Treasury will have to raise an enormous amount in the second half of the year. At this point, the absolute priority is one and only one: prevent Italy from becoming the "State to be sold off". We must prevent our solid and liquid banks from being considered an "offshoot" of the Italian public debt. We must prevent our country from earning the crown of fragility in the eyes of investors and falling into the grips of speculators due to our impaired political framework, enormous public debt and weak growth, a malaise that has become structural.

The day after the passing of the €48 billion austerity plan, this newspaper put forward a nine-point manifesto for growth. A few days ago, the country's manufacturing, banking and social forces unanimously called for a break with our current economic policy, asking that the government place growth at the center of its economic policy– with facts, actions, decisions – posthaste.

The country insists that these answers be given now. It demands it from those who govern us. Of the latter, the first interlocutor is Giulio Tremonti. He is the man who has long guaranteed that public accounts are kept in order, stemming the tide against freewheeling public spending. Today he appears weakened by our latest homegrown scandal. Tremonti acted unwisely in asking for hospitality in the house in via di Campo Marzio in Roma, which belonged to his political advisor, Marco Milanese, at the center of a series of judicial investigations for which there is a pending request for his arrest from the Public Prosecutor's Office in Naples. This imprudent action has shown itself to be even less sagacious for at least three reasons.

The first is having remained in that house even after having learned of Milanese's judicial situation from the public prosecutors. The second is that paying for this sort of sublet in cash (Tremonti likened it to staying in a hotel) is not the most natural thing to do for someone who also is responsible for the finances of a country. The third is having put forward the hypothesis that he accepted this arrangement because he felt he was being spied upon (by whom? and why didn't he report it to the authorities?).

Yesterday morning, those Italians tuned into Rai 1 heard their Minister of the Economy talk to them about the house in via di Campo Marzio. They heard him explicitly state "I don't need to steal money from Italians". Tremonti is widely acknowledged to possess personal morality, expertise and intuitive capacity, in addition to having a testy personality to say the least. It is only fair to point this out, even in this circumstance. However, today's questions, at least two of them, are different. Does he have the serenity, determination and will, for example, to carry out the pension reform that he wanted to insert into the austerity plan (a reform that he had to water down) making it even more structural? Has he done any soul searching and asked himself if he feels he has the credibility to once again take the initiative and (immediately) give those answers on growth which, moreover, for some time he has not wanted (or been able) to give ?

P.S. A motion of no-confidence on the long trial in the Senate and the phantom ministries in Monza are characteristic of methods and oddball actions that we do not like at all. They are not, beyond any shadow of doubt, the best medicine for soothing market anxiety and giving the country new hope.

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