Saturday, March 31, 2012

Waiting for Rajoy.

"Waiting for Godot set"
by KlickingKarl. [A]
Where the fuck is Mariano Rajoy?

"Aquí hay un presidente del Gobierno que va a dar la cara y no se va a esconder" ("here is a president of the Government [Prime Minister] who will face the people and not run away", my translation, see here in Spanish), Mariano Rajoy reportedly said in interview with EFE news agency boss, Alex Grijelmo in January 10, 2012.

Ever since, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, Rajoy's second in command, has had to face the people and make the official announcements.

So, for a change, the "Rajoy austerity package" had to be announced by Sáenz de Santamaría.

In a nutshell:
  1. 27bn euros (AU$ 35bn) budget cuts: 2.3% to 2.5% of estimated 2011 GDP.
  2. Average ministerial budget cuts: 16.9%. But public works cuts to reach 34%.
  3. Public sector wages and salaries frozen.
  4. Electricity and gas, increase by 7% and 5%.
  5. Housing subsidies and employment policy cuts: 2bn euros (AU$ 2.6bn).
  6. 12.3bn euros (AU$15.9bn) tax increases, supposedly from big corporations but including fiscal fraud amnesty fees (10% of the fiscal debt!); personal income tax (1.9% increase) (See here. Spanish)
VAT remains unchanged, unemployment benefits frozen, age pensions indexed by CPI.

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While in opposition, Mariano Rajoy rejected changes in industrial relations laws and personal income tax increases.

María Dolores de Cospedal, general secretary of the ironically called People's Party, had called fiscal fraud amnesty "unthinkable", "unfair" and "anti-social". (See here. Spanish)

Incidentally, for readers whose Spanish is a bit rusty: the adjective "anti-social", in Spanish, has the connotation of "criminal".

Clearly, Rojoy's "mandate" exempts him from delivering his and his party's electoral promises.

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Together with the labour market reforms already announced and previously rejected by Rajoy, these measures prompted the BBC's Gavin Hewitt to write:
"Privately some in government accept these calculations involve a risk.
"The economy is in recession and some predict it will shrink by around 2% this year - even before these savings are made.
"The fear is that Spain could be tipped into a downward spiral.
"It is also unclear how the public will react to more austerity. The unions held a general strike yesterday and are threatening further disruption."
(See here)
In plain English: that's just the beginning.

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With views like the above in mind, the El País op-ed page, often a reliably moderate voice, sounds pathetically confused, almost to a grotesque extreme:
"Más allá de los incidentes y de los que pronostican finales apocalípticos, la cuestión de fondo es que ni la economía ni la confianza de los inversores necesitaban este paro. Menos aún otras posibles huelgas venideras."("Beyond the incidents and the apocalyptic prognostications, the underlying issue is that neither the economy, nor the investors' confidence, needed this strike. Even less other future strikes"). (See here. Spanish. My translation)
No, estimados señores, lo que está fuera de lugar es vuestra preocupación con los sentimientos de los inversores y las necesidades de "la economía", cuando España, enferma de severa anemia, es obligada a desangrarse.

No es el pataleo lo que está matando a España. Es la hemorragia.

La muerte del paciente no tranquilizará a los inversores, ni les dará "confianza", porque no recuperarán sus préstamos. Y una muerte lenta, como la de Grecia, es lo que le espera. Los inversores lo saben, aún si vosotros os negáis a reconocerlo.

Pero, aún si el sacrificio de España sirviera para apaciguar al demonio de "la economía",  y devolviera a los inversores su preciosa "confianza", de vosotros, yo me preocuparía primero por España.


Image Credit:
[A] "Waiting for Godot set. Theatre Royal Haymarket 2009", by KlickingKarl. Wikipedia. My use of the photo does not imply KlickingKarl endorses me or my use of it. It doesn't imply the opposite, either!

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