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Isabel Rodríguez-Tejedo Lumbreras, School of Economic Sciences, University of Navarra, Spain

Joy in moderation

Tue, 31 May 2011 08:04:35 +0000 Published in La Razón (Madrid)

The deficit is being contained. The latest estimate puts the figure at just over 6%, just shy of the targets set about a year ago. At that time, few believed that containment would be possible, predicting dire consequences for our Economics. And although the deficit path seems to be in line with plans, we should not lose sight of the fact that we are far from being able to afford a respite of tranquility. The tightness of issue will undoubtedly lead to renewed rumors about the reliability of our estimates. It is not the first time that voices outside our country have echoed the special light in which we tend to examine the data, although on this occasion it does not seem so likely that the criticism is deserved. Beyond the small print of issue, it is doubtful that the deficit consolidation process is, as Ms. Salgado claims, perfectly on track. First, because the margins are too tight and any small bump in the behavior of the national and international Economics would put us in serious trouble. There are too many things pending, many beyond our control, that could easily derail consolidation. Perhaps more worrisome is the fact that we have relatively little room for maneuver, having already employed several deficit reduction strategies. If it does indeed become necessary to increase the effort, the social and political cost is likely to be considerable. Finally, it should not be forgotten that global forecasts include not only the results of the central administration, but also regional and local ones. In short, the containment of the State deficit is good news. At the same time, it is clear to no one that it is only part of the problem and, whatever anyone may say, we are still far from being able to congratulate ourselves.