BBC’s article about the political funding scandal gripping Spain featured a photo of hapless leader Mariano Rajoy licking his lips like a “dirty old man.” It spread like wildfire across the social media, setting off a cacophony of calls for Rajoy to resign for the irreparable damage he’d done to Spain’s overseas image.
Contributed by Don Quijones: The first four items the G-8 dealt with was the need for governments to share information to “fight the scourge of tax evasion.” If only their primary targets were multinationals, banks, and hedge funds that pay a pitiful fraction of the taxes they owe in the countries they operate. But they’re going after the little guy.
Contributed by Don Quijones:Two weeks ago, Miguel Blesa, former president of Spanish savings bank Caja Madrid, went to jail for his role in the bank’s demise. Finally, a TBTF bank chief got nailed for his role in the financial crisis. But it was too good to be true! Now a witch hunt against the judge has begun.
Contributed by Don Quijones: Steppenwolf’s The Pusher, the opening song for the 1969 movie, Easy Rider, was about dealers who “push” tainted drugs on unsuspecting users. The pusher “don’t care if you live or if you die,” it goes. Similarly, Spanish banks pushed investment products called preferentes on unsuspecting clients.
Contributed by Don Quijones: Just when you thought the concept of universal justice was dead, a courageous Spanish judge, Elpidio José Silva, did what no other judge in the Western world, bar Iceland, dared to do: He refused to grant bail to a former top banker, sending him to prison before facing trial for his alleged role in Spain’s financial crisis.
This is so bad, it’s almost funny. It happened May 31, at the end of the month, Friday afternoon, when no one was supposed to pay attention, minutes before the close of the stock market, when volume had died down to a trickle, and when the move was guaranteed to produce huge results.
Contributed by Don Quijones: “In a newspaper like El País it is no longer possible to criticize the main Spanish banks. And you have to be very careful when talking about the Government, in case it gets angry: its benevolence is needed in order to avoid bankruptcy.”
Contributed by Don Quijones: As bank lending has dried up, Spain’s government has barely lifted a finger to help struggling self-employed workers or small enterprises. Instead, it apparently made it its mission to make their working lives as difficult as possible by ramping up their tax burden to historic highs.
Contributed by Don Quijones: A daily ration of bread is now beyond the reach of roughly a billion people on planet Earth. What’s more, hunger is spreading like a pandemic, making incursions from its traditional strongholds in the global south to towns and cities across depression-hit Southern Europe. In Greece….
Austerity succeeded in trimming the bloated government sector. But instead of picking up the slack, the private sector destroyed jobs almost four times faster! The hope is that this fiasco will finally reverse course, that something will click and start a virtuous cycle before the unspeakable happens. But so far, it has relentlessly gotten worse.