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Expresso - Portugal | Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Austerity budget promotes state reform debate

Portugal's austerity budget may have its shortcomings but at least it has triggered a discussion about indispensable state reforms, the left-liberal weekly Expresso comments: "The number of public servants has doubled every ten years, and their salaries were always adjusted above the inflation rate. This is also the reason why the cuts affect above all the public sector. This draft is not a good document, but it's not as bad as people say it is because it has finally started a discussion about the state. Many argue that cutting spending in the public service doesn't necessarily mean discussing the state. Of course! ... Talking about the state means recognising that the excessive number of public servants can't be financed through taxes. It must be permitted to ask whether the public service could get by with a smaller number of employees. ... One thing is clear: the size of the state apparatus needs to be adjusted otherwise one day it will disappear."

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