Allergic to family?

Allergic to family?

Written by Vittorio Pelligra

Published in Cittá Nuova N.21/2009

It was said that the effects of the financial crisis would be long-felt: first by the banks, then businesses, occupations, consumption and savings. And, in fact, ISTAT (Italian National Institute of Statistics) data has arrived punctually in these days to show us how income available for families and Italian micro-businesses has fallen by €11 million in the second trimester of 2009. The same trend goes for the tendency to save, which has also fallen for the first time in recent years, from 15.2 percent to 14.8 percent, during the same period of time.

If it’s true that businesses produce wealth, it is also true that the majority of this wealth is redistributed, saved and consumed in the family. The family guarantees buying power to who doesn’t have income. It contributes to the transfer of wealth to future generations and to the supply of natural social shock-absorbers.

And yet, while businesses have received aid and great attention, at least by intention, the family has not received even the intention of aid. This is clear in the amount of space dedicated to the family in public debate - not at all proportional to the role the family plays in society, even if only from the economic viewpoint.

Rather than decreasing, fiscal pressure grows from 40 percent to 43 percent. An expansive fiscal policy, even rigorous, could be an important way to sustain the quality of life for families. And yet, last year´s "Petition for family-friendly taxation", promoted by the Forum of Family Associations and signed by nearly one-and-a-half million citizens, remained almost unheard. There were also the anti-crisis measures taken last December, which theoretically should have given some oxygen back to family consumption, but instead ended up producing greater benefits for single people. This is definitely a worrying political and cultural message. How can we hope to boost economic recovery if we don´t invest in the fundamental unit of the social fabric?

And yet, the family is neither on the left nor the right - it´s a reality that cannot be eliminated, a resource for the whole country. If only Parliament would give a joint force, together with civil society, to strongly and courageously bring the topic of family back to the center of debate, pushing itself ahead also with respect to the family quotient, and defending the quality of life of who invests in the future.

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