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MADRID (Reuters) – Spain’s Economy Minister said on Wednesday that job creation in 2014 would be “significant” as a tentative economic recovery kicks in, but a poll showed most Spaniards do not expect any clear improvement until 2015.
“2014 will see the net creation of jobs, higher even than we predicted in September in the budget, and the jobless rate will fall,” Luis de Guindos told Cadena Ser national radio, declining to put a number on expected jobs created.
Spain exited a recession in the third quarter of last year but the economy is still sickly and with unemployment officially predicted at 25.9 percent in 2014, roughly where it is now, there is little perception of a real recovery on the streets.
Separately on Wednesday, a poll of 1,000 people published in newspaper El Mundo showed that 71 percent of Spaniards believe the recovery and the end of the crisis will start in 2015 at the earliest.
The country is still reeling from a decade-long housing bubble which burst more than five years ago, forcing a 41-billion euro ($56 billion) bailout of the country’s banks, which were glutted with property debt.
The center-right government decreed a labor market reform in late December to encourage employers to take on more part-time workers and to simplify contracting in hopes of fuelling job creation.
“We believe the labor reform will make the market more dynamic … in 2014,” Guindos said in the interview recorded a few days ago.
However one think tank has said the changes fail to tackle Spain’s notoriously two-tiered labor market, with security for long-term fixed contracts and practically none for shorter-term ones.
Guindos added that the economic recovery would take root thanks to an expected tax reform which would look to reverse a personal income tax rise implemented when the government came to power in 2011, and cut
As might be expected as political and economic policy failures pile up and citizens become increasingly mad, the status quo is becoming increasingly authoritarian (recall blogger “Mish” was just fined 8,000 euros for a blog post).
In the latest disturbing news from a desperate power structure, the conservative government in Spain has passed an Orwellian bill titled the Citizens’ Security Law, which allows for fines of up to 600,000 euros ($816,000) for “unauthorized” street protests, and a 30,000 fine for merely having signs with “offensive” slogans against Spain or for wearing a mask.
This law is a perfect example of the increasing neo-feudalism being implemented across the globe by a corrupt, decadent and depraved status quo. Such laws must be immediately resisted or they will only get worse, much worse. It is quite obvious what the power structure in Spain in trying to do. It is putting into place an egregious punishment framework that could bankrupt a person by merely protesting. Such a threat is intended to make people not even consider their rights as human beings to express grievances to a crony government.
Instead of eye for an eye, it is like 25 eyes and a limb for an eye. If this does’t tell the Spanish people all they need to know about their government I don’t know what will. Below are some excerpts from a Reuters story covering the law:
(Reuters) – Spain’s conservative government agreed on Friday to toughen penalties for unauthorized street protests up to a possible 600,000 euro ($816,000) fine, a crackdown that belies the peaceful record of the anti-austerity protests of recent years.
Street protests and strikes have became increasingly frequent in recent years following huge cuts to education and health spending aimed at shrinking Spain’s public deficit to adhere to European Union demands.
But in contrast to Greece and elsewhere, where many similar protests have turned violent, Spain’s have remained largely peaceful, despite unemployment of 26 percent, rising poverty, and changes in labor laws that make firing easier.
Among other measures, protesters who cover their faces at demonstrations could be fined up to 30,000 euros while “offensive” slogans against Spain or its regions could reap a similar sanction.
The government also plans a new law restricting labor protests.
“This law … attempts to criminalize the act of protest,” said United Left lawmaker Gaspar Llamazares, questioning whether it complied with Spain’s constitution. “The government is trying to turn its political opponents into delinquents.”
”Compare events in Spain with those of other countries around us,” wrote conservative columnist Jose Antonio Zarzalejos on the website El Confidencial. “This security law … will add the stigma of authoritarianism to the political failure of the PP.”
It’s not just Spain though. This sort of panic attack from desperate members of the status quo is popping up elsewhere. Japan is another example, and over the weekend I read that Liberal Democratic Party Secretary-General Shigeru Ishiba compared demonstrations to “acts of terrorism.” From the Japan Times:
Citizens demonstrating against the controversial state secrets bill are committing “an act terrorism,” according to Liberal Democratic Party Secretary-General Shigeru Ishiba.
In a blog post Friday, he wrote: “If you want to realize your ideas and principles, you should follow the democratic principles, by gaining as much support as you can. I think the strategy of merely shouting one’s opinions at the top of one’s lungs is not so fundamentally different from an act of terrorism.”
My take is that people worldwide will not stand for such nonsense. Increasingly citizens have very little to lose and if they all say no together, there is not much the state can do. Just look at how Ukrainians responded to a ban on protests. Hundreds of thousands of them filled the streets in defiance. Below is a video of just one of the many incredible street scenes from over the weekend. In this case we see demonstrators using a tractor to break police barricades.
Interesting times indeed.