So, here we have it, proof of that old adage which states, "Italy functions despite its Government, not because of it."
In due course, things will be put back in order, the same old faces will take the same old seats in Parliament, and nothing will truly change. That is, except their paychecks. They'll all give themselves a handsome raise when they come back into office. In fact, I'm convinced that there's a perverse incentive driving the government's occasional (or, should I say, regular) falls. Applying my own dietrologia conspiracy theory, I'm starting to think that, since each time Parliament starts anew, it gives itself sweeping raises of 5 to 15%, well, maybe this is the true reason every so often they just throw in their hats.
The most highly paid government in pretty much the world can't even keep it running on a continuous basis (well, Berlusconi did, but I'll save that for another blog). And I thought golden parachutes given to American Chief Executives after making record losses were obnoxious. While each new government gives itself higher pays and added perks, the Metalworkers union is rejoicing for 100 euro extra in their monthly paychecks after four raiseless years. Pick a category of worker (except for those exceptional employees at the fabulously run Alitalia), and you will find the same situation across the country.
[An exception however for FIAT employees, who got a raise after record profits, and my heartfelt congratulations go out to all of them.]
But, what gets my goat even more is the 2000+ year old acceptance of the status quo. People practically ho hum the results of a new set of septegenarians at the helm; all the same faces, just shuffled like a deck of cards. After all, wasn't Andreotti seven time Prime Minister? They still prop him up on crucial votes. And I'm sure a foray into his home would reveal a very modest place right in line with a public servant. Caligula.
And yet, while headlines scream that Italians are the least paid in Europe, the most-taxed, that they sustain the highest gas, electricity and water payments (and to this I would add milk) as well as bank charges, highway tolls and auto taxes...and the list goes on... Why aren't people taking to the streets and screaming for their heads?? America was founded on a much lesser gripe.
These are people who don't live for the good of the public, they live off the public good. The inside perks including cheap apartments (which would more appropriately defined as palaces) in Rome's city centre, private cars, wine, women and song. They spend their days bickering while Napoli burns. The Financial Times with pure British hubris finally stated the obvious this week: the worst-governed country in Europe. And yet, they remain the highest paid.
No one (but Beppe Grillo) comes out saying 'send them packing'. I, for one, propose tying pay to results. Another comic recently joked, 'let's pay them very little and see how many really want to govern'. Let's.
In a country of contradictions, the mindset is that if the politicos are well-paid, they won't be tempted to take bribes. Well, since that theory has long been proven uhhh...slightly off the mark....it's high time the people get a few perks of their own; start demanding pay increases each time a new government is installed.
This solution would even work with the Italians' love for Reverse Psychology: it might even serve as an added deterrent for changes in governments, and actually keep the bums in their fancy red velvet poltrone.