A.J. DiCintio
The pain in Spain
By A.J. DiCintio
March 18, 2012

If there's one thing to say about European style "social democracy" it's that in its early stages it looks so beautiful and easy that politicians who peddle the snake oil as well as citizens who buy it are afflicted with the kind of insufferable pride that moved Shakespeare's Surrey to storm, "Can ye endure to hear [such] arrogance?"

The instances of this European arrogance are legion and were certainly evident in pre-bust, now greatly troubled Spain, whose GDP nearly five times that of Greece makes it the EU's most frightening problem.

Here, then, are the essentials every American ought to know about what social democracy has wrought on the Iberian Peninsula.

The account begins, as the ancients counseled, with fundamental truths, in this case the arrogance that impelled Spanish leftists to believe that unlike their miserably failed brethren across the globe, they could successfully create the lasting free lunch society.

All they had to do, they "reasoned," was to establish un estado protector (a nanny state) that makes it virtually impossible to fire or lay off workers, mandates high wage and benefit requirements, levies heavy taxes to pay for exponentially growing costs, borrows huge amounts to cover what tax receipts can't cover, and forces banks to take on madly irresponsible debt when high national debt prevents further borrowing, which is exactly what Spain did to keep its magic construction boom going.

And there's more to this perverse triumph of reason, no surprise considering that pride and compulsivity are as inseparable as, well, pride and prejudice.

Ignoring everything Cervantes' "Don Quixote" teaches about the dangers posed by Deceit and Fraud, Spain's politicians decided Spain ought to develop substantial amounts of electricity using (irony of ironies) windmills, the consequences of the enormous government subsidies required to make the projects feasible notwithstanding.

Next, their arrogance given a big boost from Political Expediency and Pollyannaish Dogma, the politicians didn't just mandate full national healthcare benefits to illegal immigrants, they marched on to institute what the NYT would later gush over as one of Europe's largest "regularization" programs, thereby granting a considerable number of illegal aliens de facto citizenship and all the rights, privileges, and benefits that go with it.

But to create a bubble of false prosperity that would race relentlessly toward its bursting point, Pride couldn't limit itself to sickening politicians; it also had to infect Spain's people.

That reality explains why after reveling in the magnificent beauty of a social/economic Renaissance that, they claimed, proved once and for all that they didn't have to work as smart, hard, or prudently as Germans to enjoy a German standard of living, Spanish citizens broadened their vision to the international scene to denounce, in significantly higher percentages compared with other European populations, the United States as the greatest threat to world peace.

To Irony's immeasurable delight, it was at the peak of this rampaging arrogance that Reality insisted it was time for the false Iberian Dream to come to its inevitable and ignominious end, the humiliating demise hastened by the financial crash of '08, the credit for which goes exclusively to Arrogance, Greed, and Stupidity.

Here, then, is what reality-bitten Spain looks like today, quotes thanks to Greg Williams, whose analysis of Spain's problems is posted at John Mauldin's frontlinethoughts.com.

Plagued by an inexorably growing national debt, an intractable deficit problem, an incubus of private debt (corporate and individual) that equals a "staggering 227% of GDP," and a landscape littered by a huge number of unsold, unoccupied (or squatter occupied) buildings, Europe's "new problem child" is "the country with great weather, the world's best soccer team, a busted banking system, spiraling unemployment and tapas."

As a matter of fact, unemployment has been a chronic problem for Spain, a painful one when its 12% rate during the boom years shouted that something was out of joint and a particularly excruciating one now that its "multi-decade high of 22.8%" screams the entire structure is falling apart.

But as terrible as the current pain is, it is certain to get worse, for Spain's 30-40% unemployment rate among young people portends the coming of the worst tragedy a nation can suffer: its youth becoming its biggest export.

With respect to Spain's de facto open border/open immigration policy, there is this to say:

Anyone who takes note of European election results, public opinion, and comments made by a number of leaders will conclude that even a majority of Spaniards may have come to realize that a person who believes in open borders or open immigration ought not be placed in a seat of power but tightly bound in a chair firmly bolted to the asylum floor.

Finally, it is necessary to return to the question implied at the beginning of this piece: "Why is it essential for Americans to understand what has happened in Spain?"

The answer to it is this . . .

Because what Barack Obama tries to hide with his continual, vague, meaningless invocations of the word "change" is that his greatest dream is transforming the United States into a social democracy.

And because if he is confronted by real-world facts showing that he and his elitist friends can't prevent social democracy's political and economic contradictions from choking America's liberty and strangling its prosperity, he will respond with the childish yet deadly arrogance of "Yes, We Can!"

© A.J. DiCintio


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

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A.J. DiCintio

A.J. DiCintio posts regularly at RenewAmerica and YourNews.com. He first exercised his polemical skills arguing with friends on the street corners of the working class neighborhood where he grew up. Retired from teaching, he now applies those skills, somewhat honed and polished by experience, to social/political affairs.


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