Spanish debt crisis should be a lesson to all

When center-right Catalan nationalists replaced the Socialist government in that region, incoming officials discovered the local budget deficit was twice the amount than had been previously reported.

These so-called hidden debt concerns may be more widespread than is currently known. “[The election winners are] going to arrive and realize there’s no money,” said Ismael Crespo, political scientist at the Ortega-Maranon Foundation in Madrid. “Many of the regions have problems not only to meet the deficit target but to meet basic services, which until now have been hidden because of the elections,” he added. One of those regions is Castilla-La Mancha, a region where the PP and local business leaders claim invoices of $1.43 billion remain unpaid, and where Maria Dolores de Cospedal, the conservative party’s newly elected-regional president, has pledged to “audit” the region, which she characterized as “practically bankrupt.”

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Govt. spending battle a lot like Shakespeare: A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

What looked like bickering over how much money to cut from the budget for a fiscal year that’s now more than half over was, in fact, an ideological confrontation between the Republicans on one side and the White House and its congressional allies on the other.

The ultimate price of avoiding a government shutdown was $38.5 billion in additional federal spending cuts. That’s $38.5 billion, understand, instead of the $33 billion that the White House earlier was pressured into accepting after initially wanting to cut much less. That’s $38.5 billion out of an annual federal budget that’s about 100 times that much.

The clash over that final $5.5 billion was a sideshow, compared to the coming showdown over raising the nation’s debt ceiling and resolving next year’s budget . The Democrats managed to spare, for now, the Head Start program, the Environmental Protection Agency and women’s health care. The Republicans, for all their zeal to cut the size of government, prevailed in actually increasing defense spending.

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