- Unemployment among “young people” age 15-25 is over 40%
- Over half of the corruption in the 27 member European Union happens in Italy
- 180 billion euros of tax evasion annually
- 32 tax amnesties in 34 years
- 808 billion euros in hidden income have been discovered but only 69 billion have been recovered
And of course there are facts more significant than numbers. Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was convicted of tax evasion on August 1, 2013. Now almost seven months later, the sentence of 1 year of “socially useful work” has still not been executed. Last week, when the President of the Republic held consultations with leaders of political parties concerning the formation of a new executive, the second largest party was represented by Silvio Berlusconi, a convicted criminal.
But let’s get back to some numbers that are not directly related to the economy.
Over the last three years, there has been one murder every 2-3 days of a woman killed by a man, usually a man with whom she has had an intimate or family relationship.
At a time when innovation is the buzz word on everybody’s lips, Italy is losing 9,000 university graduates annually to emigration and thousands of small businesses close each year.
Through the early 1990s, voter turnout in Italian elections was well over 80%. In Sunday’s regional elections in Sardegna, turnout was about 40% and national polls show upwards of 40% of respondents planning not to vote in the next parliamentary elections.
Public services are running on empty, literally. Trials are frequently delayed because vans transporting imprisoned defendants don’t have enough gas to make it to the courthouse. School teachers can’t make photocopies and have to supply their own chalk. Parents supply the toilet paper for the school bathrooms.
Italy has been sliding downward for a while. It has now gone ten years with virtually zero economic growth. This is not the kind of situation that lends itself to quick solutions such as changing the prime minister. What’s needed is leadership in all sectors of society but the numbers do not indicate that leadership is something Italians can count on.