Hammered into austerity

Now it’s getting depressing. Every day, it seems, the Spanish government announces new austerity measures that promise to reduce our standard of living or law changes that spell a hemming in of our rights. Especially on Fridays. The biggest bombs are always dropped on Fridays.

Last Friday, for example, as well as announcing cuts to health and education worth €10 billion, which include more expensive pharmaceuticals and higher university fees, the government revealed a law change that will allow it to choose the president of RTVE—Spain’s national public radio and television service—unilaterally.

Many fear this change will mark a return to the bad old days when partisan use of the state broadcaster by the government was the norm and, indeed, an expected and accepted privilege of holding office.

From a personal point of view, the current climate—the economy and the measures that are supposed to help it—doesn’t give you much reason to feel confident about the present, let alone the future.

Last night on a TV documentary, I saw that unemployment in the US in the great depression reached 25%. I thought, “Ahh, just like in Spain now”. But then they went on to talk about the New Deal and investment in public works to lower unemployment and drive growth, and that’s where the similarities ended: we’ve got the depression, and it’s probably big enough to be called ‘great’, but there’s no New Deal in sight.

OK, the situations are different, but we do need a little good news every now and then too.

The other day, someone on Twitter said that the last thing that she’d want to do right now is bring a child into the world. Maybe the comment was a little melodramatic and more just the result of having a bad day, but, the truth is, the current situation does make thoughts like this run through your head more often than they otherwise might.

Even if you’re doing OK, you start to think about the effect that all these measures and the economic situation itself is having and will have on those around you, your children and your parents especially, but also your family and friends in general and even the people you just see on TV, and that’s when it starts to get really depressing.

Come on, please, give us something to be happy about, and it better not just be a football match or talk of some dodgy casino park (AKA Eurovegas).

Written by Rob Lunn

Rob Lunn is a freelance legal translator based in Spain. He translates from Spanish and Catalan into English.

2 comments to “Hammered into austerity”
  1. One more item in the chapter of disasters: S&P downgraded Spain yesterday. Nice people, always helping when you are in trouble…
    Anyway, there is something to be happy about: the King is recovering from his injury happened during his hunting party in Africa. You see, not everything is depressing. There is still hope. Maybe you should take some holiday to hunt elephants too?

    • Maybe I should. 🙂 Although it’s not even all good news with the king as apparently he’s back in hospital. Not to worry though. You can be sure he at least won’t notice the health cuts.

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