Economy / Politics

Could Italy have a guaranteed minimum income?

The introduction of a guaranteed minimum income has been a cornerstone of the agenda of the Five Stars Movement, one of the main Italian parties.

However, it is unlikely that such a proposal will ever pass, unless the Movement gets 51 percent of the votes.

First of all, there are the budget constraints. The Italian Constitution requires every Bill involving expenditures to identify an equivalent revenue in the State budget. Italy has been watched by the EU Institutions for years, and any serious talk of a guaranteed minimum income would probably horrify Brussels, Frankfurt and Berlin.

Then there is the risk that the guaranteed income is interpreted like a premature pension, id est a State authorization not to work. The Five Stars Movement replied that everyone receiving the income will be offered a job: if he refuses, the subsidy will be revoked.

But who exactly would offer the job? The public employment offices are notoriously unable to procure any offer, since they are understaffed and submerged with paperwork. A remedy could be perhaps the involvement of the unpopular private employment agencies.

Finally, there is the undeclared work, which is already widespread in Italy. People could work off the books and at the same time get their guaranteed revenue.

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