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Spain Socialists Suffer Heavy Election Losses

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By Doug Powers  •  May 22, 2011 10:56 PM

**Written by Doug Powers

The good news: Due to the economic disaster that invariably accompanies or follows Socialist experiments, Socialist politicians are suffering defeats in Spain’s elections. The bad news: The “green economy” pushed by these people has been used as a model for the US economy.

It was tempting to title this post “How’s that ‘Green Jobs Economy’ working out?” But that’s just a fraction of the story.

From the BBC:

With 91% of municipal votes counted, the centre-right Popular Party (PP) had almost a 10-percentage point lead, the interior ministry said.

Voting took place amid mass protests against high unemployment and the government’s handling of the economy.

Demonstrators holding sit-ins in Madrid and other cities said rallies would continue for another week.

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero conceded his party had been resoundingly defeated but said he had no intention of calling early general elections.

He said three years of economic crisis had taken their toll.

“Economic crisis” without a doubt:

The financial crisis has forced deep cuts and left Spain burdened with 21.3 percent unemployment, the highest of any nation using the Euro as its currency. The jobless rate among the young stands at 40 percent and a total of 4.9 million people are out of work in Spain, the highest number since 1997.

As easy as it could be to assume, Socialists in Spain aren’t necessarily losing because of a backlash against Socialism (though it’s welcome where it’s occurring). Some Socialist politicians in Spain, or plenty of other places for that matter, are being run off because people are angry at their failure to deliver on undeliverable promises. State sponsored nirvana makes a state sponsored scorched earth policy against the Primrose Path inevitable. Spain’s situation is the Socialist Paradox personified:

MADRID — When Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero took power seven years ago, he and his Socialist Workers’ Party set out to perfect the welfare state in Spain. The goal was to equal— or even surpass — lavish social protections that have long been the rule for Spain’s Western European neighbors.

True to his Socialist principles and riding an economic boom, Zapatero raised the minimum wage and extended health insurance to cover everything from sniffles to sex changes. He made scholarships available to all. Young adults got rent subsidies called “emancipation” money. Mothers got $3,500 for the birth of a child, toddlers attended free nurseries and the elderly got stipends for nursing care.

How times have changed. With a U.S.-style real estate bubble having burst and the 2008 global economic crisis having unfurled like a tsunami from Wall Street to Plaza de Espana, Zapatero’s main concern in his second term has become hacking away at government spending to preserve Spain’s credit rating. The icon of socialism recently concluded a pact with labor unions and business leaders to freeze pensions, push back the retirement age from 65 to 67, trim union bargaining rights, cut civil servants’ pay by 5 percent (including his own) and suspend the childbirth bonus. The alternative, he warned, was bankruptcy.

Socialists going down to defeat in Spain should be a lesson for those US politicians who are pushing America in the same direction. It won’t be, but it should be.

(h/t Jammie Wearing Fool)

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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