Perhaps I am out of touch, but I have to keep reminding myself that the economic situation in Spain is as bad as the situation in Greece.
*Hundreds of thousands of Spaniards rallied in Madrid on Saturday against poverty and EU-imposed austerity in a largely peaceful protest later marred by violent clashes in which police fired rubber bullets.
Some protesters started to throw stones and bottles at the large numbers of riot police present and attacked cashpoints and hoardings. The police fired rubber bullets to disperse them, according to video footage seen by Reuters.*
The OECD says the economic crisis has hit Spain’s poor harder than in any other country in the group.
*A housing bubble burst more than five years ago, forcing a 41-billion euro ($56 billion) bailout of Spain’s banks, squeezing homeowners and throwing millions out of work.
The government introduced public sector austerity to whittle down the deficit, provoking widespread anger amongst middle- and low-income families as dozens of cases of corruption in the ruling class are investigated by judges.*
*Analysts say that Spain came out of recession in the second half of 2013.
But unemployment soared with the government’s labour reforms which reduced the cost of hiring and firing.*