Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Thoughts on Spain. Sí. Sóc indignada.

The indignats have it right in so many ways.  I do have to disagree with other points.  The focus has to be on transparency and gov't cleaning up its own corruption.

For me, what has to be done first and foremost is get the budget under control, but to do this, the gov't has to do two things.

1.  Make the cuts it needs to

2.  Clean up the hemorraging of government money into corruption and the black market.

How to do this?

Open the books.  There is no transparency into gov't accounts in Spain.  No one may see the books at national, regional, provincial or municipal levels.  I cannot find out what my local municipal gov't pays itself, for example, nor find out how their expense accounts have been used. If you aren't willing to show your accounts, one is certainly right in assuming that some skimming, at the best, is going on.  If that is so, people will do all they can to avoid paying taxes, with the correct assumption that a portion of the money will be filtered off into people's pockets.  Thus leading to a flourishing blackmarket economy - they say that conservatively 25% of the Spanish economy goes on under the table - further impoverishing the gov't in its efforts to provide service.

Yeah, some cuts have to be made, but before you cut local emergency health services, which is one of the things they are looking at doing in our village for instance, you have to clean up at home.

3.  More fair financial laws, ie bankruptcy laws.

People HATE the banks.  Do this one thing, and they will be so much happier.  Allow bankruptcy laws, for a certain protion of the population ie. not the rich who have money in Geneva and Jersey.  Here in Spain, if you cannot pay your mortgage and the bank seizes your house, you loose it, all the money from it and you - get this - still have to continue to pay out your full term of the mortgage even though the bank has recouped its money via the seizure.

Hmmmm, me thinks, if you lose your house cause you can't pay the mortgage, how can you pay the mortgage and rent?????

End that law and the general population will be OH so much happier.

Oh, and the tax on renovation homes AKA infrastructure improvement?  That's just stupid.

4.  Catalan issues

Finally, throw a few bones to the autonomous regions that are driving the freaking economy.  Leave the damn language laws alone.  Tell the ignorant PP (inheritors of Franco's party) MPs to stop being idiots.  Recently a PP MP, on one of her first days in office, went to the education ministry demanding 'bilingual education' for her child, ie: more Spanish in schools.  I would LOVE to see the statistics on bilingualism in Spain, cause I can guarantee you that every. single. Catalan. is. bilingual.  No where else in Spain can you say that.  Nowhere else.  I think her kid's getting that bilingual education.  No?

Oh, and that transperency issue, the constant rumours of inequities in benefits between regions could be rectified.  There is nothing wrong, in my mind, with richer parts of the country giving more into the national tax base than they get out, but they shouldn't receive fewer benefits.  The saying goes that all the kids in Andalucia are given computers at public high school.  Not here.  Is this true?  Who knows, no one can see the books, one goes based on what one's neighbours nephew in Malaga gets.  Rumours say that retired people in the south of Spain get more than retired folks here.  Again, runours, based on the numbers of someone's grandfather and not on facts.

No one wants kids in different parts of the country to have inferior educational opportunities or access to health, but no one's kids should have inferior educational opportunities nor access to health care, whatever part of the country they come from, no?

I may have a couple of these facts wrong, but as a normal folk working here day by day and not a political pundit, this is the best of my knowledge, if any of you know better or otherwise, I'd love to hear from you!

My two cents.


Anonymous said...

Once I was in Extremadura and the roads were excellent, dual carriage ways, with very few cars. But here in Catalunya we have worse roads and full of cars. We must pay for the autopistes - Catalunya, Pais Basque and Valencia, but the rest of Spain don't pay. With no financial transparency it is hard to show evidence of the injustice without using hearsay and personal experience. Pep

thecatalanway said...

Hi there that was Pep responding to your post. Good analysis and interesting to read and I like your passion. Did you see my email about tomorrow? Are we leaving it for another time? Better for me too actually but I want to do it sometime soon. Hope you are better ( seems so!) Kx

oreneta said...

Pep...exactly. Without transparency, we have to go on heresay, and without transparency, there are almost certainly injustices.

Hi K! Wonder why I never commented back here??? I did see your email, too bad we couldn't get together in the end. See you online for now!