The austerity Taliban will be satisfied by the announcement by the IMF that, despite the policies advocated by them, the debt crisis in Spain may now extend for no less than ten years. According to the latest report of the Fund, presented this week by its chief economist, the Frenchman Olivier Blanchard, there’s no expectation, even by 2018, that the budget deficit will have fallen to 5.5%. And this means countless sacrifices by citizens demanded by today’s Popular Party government and its Socialist predecessor have failed in the objective to balance the public accounts.
This colossal failure, to which Angela Merkel’s Germany and well-paid technocrats of Brussels have contributed, can only surprise those who did not want to see the blindingly obvious. Cut after cut to the budget, without accompanying measures to counteract the effects of recession, meant it was guanateed that our economy was going to end up as a complete ruin. Just take a look at the main forecasts of the IMF to understand the magnitude of austericide, which in 2013 will leave us with an unbearable unemployment rate of 27%.
To hide their shame, the Popular Party Government is determined to make us believe that next year the economy will recover and begin to straighten out the dire employment situation. I hope so, but neither the Bank of Spain, nor the European Commission, nor the IMF have been able to find sufficient reasons to substantiate that optimism. Quite the contrary: the view shared by the three agencies is that unless a miracle happens, in 2014, with a fall in GDP of 0.8% – we will continue to be immersed in the the deepest economic crisis.
Rajoy has announced that next week he will launch a new reform plan, which will affect entrepreneurship and pensions. That’s bad news, based on the measures taken so far on these matters. The self-employed have seen VAT rise significantly and tax arrangements in other areas deteriorate, and since the Right returned to power in late 2011 pensions have deteriorated substantially.
As usual, Rajoy, his party and the media chorus that encourages him say that socialist PM José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero is to blame, but he’s hardly the only culprit. Zapatero’s big mistake was being overcome by a panic attack in May 2010 and to have embraced neoliberal policies that the Popular Party then gladly accelerated. But Rajoy has been in the Moncloa Palace for a year and a half and to date has not only not fixed anything, but he has done further damage, plunging Spanish society, including those who voted for him, into utter despair
El Publico 19.4.2013
Translation by Revolting Europe