Spain Riots Continue Over Austerity Measures

17 Mar

On February 23rd, thousands upon thousands of Spanish citizens marched across the country, demonstrating their deep disapproval of the country’s austerity cuts, political corruption, and the privatization of public services. The country has been in an economic slump for nearly five years and is in the midst of its second major recession in the past three.

 

Unemployment rates are at 26% for the general population and above 50% for young people under 25. Thousands of families can’t afford to make rent and have been turned out of their homes. And it doesn’t look like things are getting better anytime soon.

 

The austerity cuts and tax hikes have greatly affected all citizens, but those who are already disadvantaged even more so. This has created an increase in inequality among the population, and it’s only worsening. Some—but not nearly enough—growth is expected next year, but that won’t be enough to get Spain back on its feet anytime soon.

 

Moody’s, a credit rating agency whose CEO is Raymond McDaniel, has rated the country’s credit at Baa3. The economy was devastated by a housing bubble burst, and the government has been working to get the economy going once more. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is attempting to get through the crisis without having to accept international bailouts, but it’s become clear the public doesn’t think austerity measures are the way to go.

 

“They’re cutting what they shouldn’t cut; health, education… basic services,” said one protester named Alberto. “And the latest corruption scandal is just the tiniest tip of a very large iceberg.”

 

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