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maltatoday | SUNDAY • 1 MAY 2022 COMMENT What are we skinning? The announcement that the COVID-19 wage supplement scheme will come to a defini- tive end in May. Why are we skinning it? Because it's a bittersweet national moment that feels somewhat defining. How so? On the one hand, the stoppage of goodies coming your way will always feel a little bit disappointing. On the other, the develop- ment also signals that the pandemic is finally allowing us to return to a vague semblance of 'normality' and that direct financial support may not be all that urgently necessary anymore. Still, the wage supplement was a fun experiment. Yes, if anything it allowed governments to test the idea of universal basic income, for one thing. So you're confident that they will actually move to bring it about in future? I don't know… I mean a bunch of us are being asked to return to the office so… Yeah. It seems like gov- ernments are only ever 'experimental' when the going outside is bad enough. It's almost as if 'innovative' approaches that rock the boat are only an option when the boat is being rocked by an external 'big-bad' force majeure… What will you miss most about the wage supplement then? I will miss the regular emails from a government entity which actually lead to the promise of MORE money, not less. True. Also, I will miss being able to action a bureaucratic process by simply clicking 'confirm' on an email. If only things would continue to be this efficient post-pan- demic. We are post-pandem- ic. So whatever's happening can be judged by today's standards. A brave new world. Brave? Not really. New? Perhaps more so in some ways, less than others. World? Oh yes. So much of that, so much world. We will now have to wait for yet another election cycle to get free money from the government once again, it seems. It seems so. But remember that none of this stuff is really ever free. Please, allow me a momen- tary respite from everything. Okay, fair enough - you're right. I will allow you a delicious fugue vision of governments with bottomless pockets being generous 'just because'. Either way, inflation means we'll be needing a wage supplement for pastizzi soon. People have made that joke before, and it wasn't all that funny the first time around, honestly. Do say: "The wage supple- ment was arguably a clear illustration of the positive side of a pro-business, economically sensitive government, leveraging its generous coffers in a timely manner… and during the most urgent time of need. Here's hoping that future crises will be dealt with in a similar manner." Don't say: "Make the wage supplement into a simple 'wage' and continue to give it to us in perpetuity. A simple linguistic trick to make every- one happy. You're welcome." No country for old people JOSANNE CASSAR PAGE 6 The Skinny Malta, shrunk down MICHAEL FALZON The PN's financial woes PAGE 7 No 137 – Farewell to the Wage Supplement RAPHAEL VASSALLO Shocked at Elon Musk buying Twitter? PAGE 13 EDITORIAL A SLAPP in the face of media intimidation PAGE 2 SAVIOUR BALZAN Our toxic dependence on construction needs a public response PAGE 5 The elderly are accustomed to the personal service of a bank, where they can actually talk to a human being face to face

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