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Jaime Pozuelo-Monfort Headshot

Spain's Deep Recession

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Spain is in deep recession not only economic-wise, but from every other point of view. Nothing works well in the Kingdom, not even the Monarchy. Profound changes are necessary if Spaniards wish to have any future at all.

Spain's leadership is broken. The two major political parties are filled with corruption cases and charges. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and Opposition Chief Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba have both inherited their posts from their predecessors and are already in their sixties. None of the two speaks English fluently. None of the two has had any international experience, whether academic or professional.

Spain's territorial framework no longer works. Separatist demands in Catalonia are putting at risk the very own understanding among Spaniards, including Catalans, based on a partisan discussion in which Nationalist and National elites are the only beneficiary. The seventeen Autonomous Regions have literally become federal states with an unnecessary and expensive-to-maintain political infrastructure that mimics those of other mid-size European countries.

Spain's debt levels are no longer sustainable. Public debt-to GDP ratio has increased from a bottom level of 35 percent in the second Zapatero Administration to almost 100 percent under the current Rajoy Administration, closing the gap with Italy and Greece which bear unsustainable debt levels. Contrary to Italy, Spain's private debt has also skyrocketed and adds 300 percent of GDP to the overall outstanding debt owed by Spaniards.

Spain's educational system is the worst in the European Union and the OECD. Recent rankings compromise all the policymaking conducted in Spain since the country transitioned to democracy in 1976. The indicators do not lie.

Spain's job market is torn apart. Almost thirty percent unemployment and above 50 percent youth unemployment say it all. Millions of Spaniards condemned to long-term unemployment. Hundreds of thousands of recent college graduates have no job prospects.

Over the past four years starting in November, 2009 I have travelled throughout the country and interviewed over 700 of Spain's finest Experts, most of whom are convinced that the country is on the verge of collapse. Spaniards risk erupting into a violent revolution because of an irresponsible leadership which has led all of us, with our consent, to the verge of a nervous breakdown.

It is time for yet another kind of revolution. The Elegant Revolution was announced by Lucas Mallada in his 1890 essay "The Future Spanish Revolution", which I praise because of its ability to anticipate what was yet to come.

We must face the severity of the challenges ahead and accept we need open-heart surgery.