Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Dust off the Guillotines

It's been a year now since the great economic crisis hit and not a whole lot has changed here in Spain. Economic forecasts continue to project negative growth and the government's solution is to raise taxes on the middle class, bringing a whole new meaning to spreading the wealth. The other option is the PP, who'd tax the poor too and take their families on vacation. There's been no discussion on taxing the rich and the plan to close the loophole called the beckham rule brought a strike threat from La Liga.  And I wonder, why should a foreign football player pay half the amount a Spanish one does, not to mention the average worker? Isn't the national team the best? How does this law even exist in the first place? Besides, where else is some Brazilian going to play? Manchester?

Locally, a few mayors of the suburbs of Barcelona were arrested on corruption as was the head of  Palau de la Musica - the prestigious modernist music hall meant to represent the best of the Catalan nation. As Tom from thebadrash points out, the allegations against him were first brought to a judge five years ago. Yes, I know this is Spain, things move slow, but so does corruption seem to spread far and deep. All the while the people take advantage of anticrisis tapas menus; the police enforce the end of two for one drink specials. And I wonder, what would happen if this were France?

But I know. The president north of the border is bringing back Versailles, installing his dashing son in high posts, spending money lavishly on luxury in the process and the citizens stay silent because what choice is there. As for the Great Roman Empire now known as Italy, it's being run by Hugh Hefner starring in the Sopranos and the citizens re-elect him. Across the channel change is on the horizon as the Tories are set to assume power for the first time since Thatcher while Labour bails out the banks and the factories close. Across the pond, Obamamania has faded revealing a less hubris face to the nation but the same industries in charge. And like Marvin Gay sang, I wonder what's going on and where's the anger of the sixties, twenties, and 1770's?

But after reading this interview with the President of Goldman Sachs where he equates getting filthy rich at the expense of the people as doing god's work, regardless of the damage he and others like him do, I now wonder what it would be like to have a shotgun.

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