Spanish Government makes official the Looting of Pension Funds

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | SEPTEMBER 29, 2012

It did not take too long for the Spanish government to dip into the rapidly disappearing pension fund reserves. After presenting its 2013 budget, the Finance Minister Cristobal Montoro announced that the government led by Mariano Rajoy will make use of Social Security, retirement and other supplemental funds to help with the liquidity problems the central government faces as it becomes more expensive for Spain to meet its obligations.

The Executive now counts the 3,063 million from the Social Security Reserve Fund as part of its budget, which it now has stolen from Spanish people who saved and paid into the system for decades. The Social Security Fund has become the piggy bank to obtain quick cash after the Social Security administration itself had tapped into the reserve at the beginning of September, because it did not have enough money to make the payments to its contributors. Ironically, the government has also announced an increase of 1% in pension payments for 2013, which makes one wonder where will the money come from if the system cannot even afford to send the checks out now.

The Government approved the reform plan imposed by the European Union which is a commitments from the Memorandum that opens the door to ask for financial assistance in the form of credit to bailout Spanish banks with a maximum of 100,000 million euro, but that consultants estimate will be of around 53,000 million euros.

The State Budget for 2013 is included in the so-called Spanish Strategy for Economic Policy and a plan that includes up to 43 laws specified in the Official State Gazette (BOE).

The macroeconomic conditions used to create this new budget have not changed from the last time which was filed with the same spending ceiling. Thus, the official forecast remains that GDP will contract by 0.5% in 2013. This is a very optimistic figure when compared to other analysis services such as the one issues by Citi, who expects a decline of 3.3%.

State spending will grow in 5.6% in 2013, mainly due to interest on the debt in the next year, which will amount to some 10,000 million euros. The total amount to be paid in interests for loans requested by the Spanish government will reach nearly 38,000 million euros.

The Deputy Prime Minister, Soraya Saenz de Santamaria, said that this budget contains more spending adjustments than changes in income. In it, 58% corresponds to expenditures, while 42% refers to income. She said that the government remains committed to social spending, which will represent 63.6% of total expenditure. The only items that increase are: pensions, grants and debt interests that make up the increase in government spending.

According to the budget, tax revenue projections for this year will be met fully. For 2013, it is expected that non-financial income will increase to 4% over budget, and 2.6% on budget execution.

The government expects to collect 4.375 million euros with the implementation of new tax measures, increasing taxes and fees included in the 2013 budget. The greatest impact on revenue will come from corporate taxes, the document says, by eliminating the deduction for depreciation for large companies, which will provide 2.371 million euros.

It creates a new 20% tax on lottery prizes, which will affect 40% of the prizes that exceed 2,500 euros. In total, the tax will add 824 million euros to the state coffers. Taxes on net worth will collect 700 million euros. These 1524 million euros will join together with 90 million euros that the government will obtain from eliminating the tax deduction on the purchase of primary residences, which was announced last July.

With these figures, the government has assured Europe that it will comply with its goal to keep the deficit below 4.5% of GDP for 2013.

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Spain Complies with Brussels’ Deadly Economic Policies

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | JULY 12, 2012

Mariano Rajoy and his government have provided another sign that they are not about to stop starving Spain through the policies proposed and enforced by the European government, after it agreed to rescue the peninsular nation with some 125 billion in aid. The conditions imposed by Brussels were clear in order to provide the funding to rescue the Spanish banking system: deadly austerity and exorbitant increases in taxes.

Rajoy has delivered as promised a week ago, when he proudly announced that the European government had accepted the conditions Spain had proposed, even though it was the other way around. Back then, Rajoy announced the bailout as a triumph and a step in the right direction to get Spain back on track and to pursue economic growth and higher employment. However, since the announcement of the bailout and the realization of the contract between Spain and the EU government, things have been going downhill only.

Since the acceptance of the financial aid, which by the way the Spanish people will have to pay for, deeper austerity measures have been implemented and the value added tax increased to 21 percent. The spanish government says it has officially cut 65 billion euros from the fiscal deficit, a measure whose results will be fulfilled, says Rajoy in 2014. Much of the money the government is cutting belongs to social programs, on which millions of spanish people depend to live. In practical terms, this means that the government has effectively tied a noose around the necks of all of those dependent people who will see their purchasing power and resources decrease exponentially in the next 2 years.

The package of measures imposed by the European government as a condition to rescue to the Spanish banking system also includes deep cuts in unemployment benefits and civil service pay. It is also believed that future measures will include tapping into the monies destined to fund pension funds and retirement accounts as well as determine that people will have to retire at a much later age and pay a bigger cut of their already depleted income to those pension or retirement systems. Rajoy’s announcement of more austerity and cuts to government entitlement programs provoked a mix of jeers and boos from opposition party members in the Spanish Parliament.

“These measures are not pleasant, but they are necessary. Our public spending exceeds our income by tens of billions of euros,” Rajoy told the members present at the parliament. He also warned people about new plans to enact new taxes on energy consumption and plans to give away SPanish infrastructure to private companies who work for the European banking system. Rajoy said places such as ports, airports and rail would be ‘privatized’ in order to pinch every penny possible to help the government deal with its current deficit. The government of Spain will also reverse property tax breaks it had announced back in December 2011.

The current fiscal problems that Spain faces have been aggravated by a recent public protest that extended to the streets of Madrid, where hundreds of coal miners who marched to the capital from the northern regions of Spain, are protesting against cuts in mining subsidies that they say will put them out of work. Those cuts are also part of the government’s recently adopted measures to supposedly reduce the deficit. The newest austerity measures are even making a dent into one of the most important social distractions in Spain: Soccer. As reported by Sport.es, the austerity measures announced by Mariano Rajoy greatly influence that sales and transfers of players before the start of the next soccer season.

More than five years of economic digression, that began back in the days of José Maria Aznar, have morphed into a recession and a government rejected depression that translated into a 24+ percent unemployment rate, the highest deficits in recent decades, a failing banking system that was heavily invested in fictitious financial products, soaring borrowing costs, financial downgrades of both the Spanish government and the banks, decreasing purchasing power for the average Spanish, a deeper fall into the indebtedness black hole and of course the loss of national sovereignty.

Although similar measures adopted in other nations such as Greece have not yielded any positive results the government led by Mariano Rajoy has already compromised with the European bankers to adopt and execute a package of policies that seem to be taking Spain slowly and painfully the way of the financial butcher’s. The only missing part from the Argentinian situation of 1999 to 2000 in the Spanish scenario are the public riots on the streets, that seem closer than ever now that the miners have taken to the capital to protest the cuts in subsidies. With more shutdowns of public companies, reduced benefits for civil servants, budget cuts for political parties and labor unions, the adoption of more deadly policies originated in Brussels warn that the riots might just be around the corner.

Spain Officially under Brussels Rule

By requesting a financial bailout of its banking system and accepting all measures recommended by Brussels, Spain has effectively walked into the wolf’s den.

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | JUNE 26, 2012

The reaction to Spain’s decision to accept a financial bailout for its banking system had immediate reactions everywhere in that country and abroad. First, the decision to request over $100 billion dollars to Brussels to rescue what the country’s Prime Minister says is 30 percent of the banks caused the collapse of the stock market. Second, by the mid afternoon, the adoption of new rules from the European bankers caused Moody’s to downgrade 28 Spanish banks and left Spain’s credit rating just above junk status. Third, The European Union will, as it did with other countries that were rescued, assumed complete power of the budgetary policy of the Spanish government.

On Thursday, European finance ministers will meet to discuss the details of the latest European rescue which implies that Spain will have to adopt every single recommendations originated in Brussels. Any violation to such rules will consequently bring harsh penalties against the peninsular nation. Another issue that will be discussed on Thursday and Friday will be the guidelines that the European government will give each nation that requested a bailout in regards to the supervision that the euro zone leaders will exercise over the banking system and the amount that each government will spend, how and when they will spend it.

Now that Spain is in the bag, European leaders like Herman Van Rompuy, Jose Manuel Barroso, Jean-Claude Juncker and Mario Draghi are proposing to establish a system where there is complete centralized control over the financial sector in each of the countries which will include the economic and budgetary matters. In Spain, economists and TV commentators are already analysing the implications of such a decision, since Spain has no longer anything to say about what is done with its finances. The Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has said on national television that new and more difficult measures are still to come. Those measures include a 10 percent increase in the sales taxes, which will reach 18 percent. This increase is surely to affect the prices and food and other basic needs.

After the increase in the sales tax or IVA, Spain will have to ‘reform’ its pension system, which will mean that Brussels will also take control over the retirement of millions of Spanish people. Those who have contributed into the retirement system, will have to retire later and take a significant haircut to their benefits once they decide to stop working. That is if they receive any retirement benefits at all. Additionally, the government will also propose a cut in the salaries it pays to workers in the public sector and a considerable reduction in the number of people it will employ once Brussels recommendations are effective.

Although the details of Spain’s bailout are not fully disclosed to the public or the media, leaks provided to some economists in that country detail that the country will have to take care of the bankers’ debt for at least the next quarter of a century while paying an interest rate of between 3 and 5 percent. Spain’s incapacity to meet its obligations was the caused cited by Moody’s for its most recent downgrade, Meanwhile, and as a consequence of such downgrade, Spain will have to continue paying higher interest rates at bond auctions. This situation would get even worse of Spain needed another financial bailout in the near future.

French junior budget minister Jerome Cahuzac, one of the people who meets today with the rest of his European colleagues to work out the details of Brussels meeting on Thursday, has said that it is only fair that Spain also submits its sovereignty just as his own country and many others in the euro zone have done it as a condition to receive so-called rescue packages. “This is what we are talking about, budget solidarity in Europe which implies that not only that the French budget, but also the German, Italian and Spanish budgets be subjected to a review by all our partners,” Cahuzac said.

As we reported yesterday, Spain is now finalizing a memorandum of understanding which will be presented before the Eurogroup on July 9, where the final decisions will be made by the 17 finance ministers who work on behalf of the European bankers. The Spanish economy minister explained that the money loaned to Spain will be managed through the Fund for Orderly Bank Restructuring (FROB), which is supposed to be a state-backed cashier, but that in reality is a banker-controlled window that dictates where will the funds recently requested by Spain will be directed.

As it has happened throughout Europe, most of the measures adopted by governments to supposedly deal with the economic crisis have only tightened the belt of the working class, the people who always take on the heaviest burden when banks decide to collapse a country’s financial and economic system. In the case of Spain, as we have said, the financial rescue of its banks means prices going through the roof, later retirement, less or no retirement benefits, a reduction in the purchasing power for the middle and lower classes and a perpetual state of indebtedness for the next 2 or 3 generations of Spanish people, who will have to work all of their lives to pay the debt incurred into by the Spanish banking system.

Two Million British Strike over Pension Fund Looting

AFP
November 30, 2011

Up to two million public sector workers in Britain went on strike Wednesday over changes to their pensions, after the governmentresponded to slashed growth forecasts with fresh spending cuts.

In what unions said was the biggest walkout in decades, thousands of schools were shut, hospitals operated with minimum staffing levels and local authorities were paralysed.

Thousands of workers marched through central London and Manchester, northwest England, during the 24-hour strike.

However, fears of long delays at London’s Heathrow airport, one of the world’s busiest air passenger hubs, failed to materialise as most immigration officials turned up for work.

Ferry ports and cross-Channel rail services linking Britain to continental Europe, also operated largely as normal.

The strike is the biggest test so far of Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative-Liberal Democrat government, which sparked the unions’ fury by making public sector workers pay more into their pensions and work longer.

Anger rose further on Tuesday when finance minister George Osborne targeted the pay of teachers, nurses and soldiers and revealed plans to cut an extra 300,000 public sector jobs as he sharply reduced Britain’s growth forecasts.

Osborne infuriated the unions by announcing a new two-year, one-percent cap on public sector pay rises.

Cameron was scathing about the strike, telling parliament it had been a “damp squib” and lambasting unions for calling the action while negotiations on pensions were ongoing.

The prime minister insisted that reforms to public sector pensions were “absolutely essential”, and accused Ed Miliband, leader of the opposition Labour Party, of being “irresponsible, left-wing and weak” for refusing to condemn the strike.

The Unison union said two million workers had taken part in the stoppages, and claimed they had wider support.

Brendan Barber, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), said the government had put the public sector “under attack” and the strike was fully justified.

“There comes a time when people really have to stand up and make a stand,” he told ITV television.

“With the scale of change the government are trying to force through, making people work much, much longer and get much, much less, that’s the call people have made.”

In Salford, northwest England, around 30 refuse collectors manning a picket line outside their depot dismissed claims that their pensions were “gold-plated” compared to those in the private sector.

Neil Clarke, a union organiser with Unite, said: “The government is attacking our pension schemes — they are looking for public sector workers to contribute more, work longer and receive less in pension benefits.

“The average public sector pension comes in at £3,000 ($4,650, 3,500 euros) a year. Could you live on £3,000 a year?”

BAA, the operator of Heathrow Airport, said queues at border control points were “normal”, despite prior warnings that delays of up to three hours were likely.

“Due to the effective contingency plans we put in place with airlines and the UK Border Agency, immigration queues are currently running at normal levels for Heathrow,” said BAA chief executive Colin Matthews.

A giant union rally took place in Birmingham, Britain’s second city, and unions said 300,000 workers downed tools in Scotland.

British diplomats abroad were also involved in the strike, with the United Nations, Washington, Paris and all major capitals affected.

Under the government’s proposals — which form part of its efforts to slash the budget deficit — public sector workers will have to work until they are 66 and increase the amount they pay into their pensions.

But staff face a lower pension payout, which will be based on their average salary as opposed to the final salary schemes to which they are currently tied.

As Society Breaks Down, People Beg for Tyranny

by Luis R. Miranda
The Real Agenda
August 11, 2011

It’s been at least 15 years since I heard calls for people to wake up because the greatest crisis in humanity’s existence was rapidly approaching. Today, as I watch video and photos from London, and previously from Syria, Egypt, the United States and Lybia, I cannot help but think that those who sought to warn us were simply and plainly correct. Perhaps the most surprising fact is that those truth tellers, who were often identified as conspiracy theorists, told us how it would happen and as the break point got closer and closer, they were even able to predict different aspects of the fall with outstanding precision.

Who would have believed 15 years ago that the world would crumble to its knees and would beg for the implementation of tyrannical policies and regimes in order to bring back law and order? I certainly didn’t. Before I began studying history and current events, I thought society would be able to take care of itself and avoid disaster. But the latest video feeds from London and everywhere else clearly show that society is lost in the foggy alternative reality they were born into 50 or more years ago. The social engineers played their hand well and now have most of the population consuming itself in a web of self-degradation, death and perversion fed to us as the sexiest fad for almost half a century.

In England, polls show that upwards of 65 percent of people are now calling for the use of rubber bullets, water canyons, police abuse and other tyrannical practices because they are too afraid to organize with their neighbors and take care of the looters that are destroying decades-old family businesses, homes, cars, shoe and clothing stores and other property to get their hands on the latest electronics, jewelry and various valuable products by breaking windows, smashing store front doors and pulling citizens from the their cars to smash their heads on the streets. Instead, British people are now calling for a government sponsored Police State.

Notice that most of the places that are being affected by riots and unrest are sections of the society whose members are unarmed and who cannot defend themselves because their government, which cannot protect them 24/7, implemented regulations to ban the people’s right to be armed and to defend their properties and their families. London shows signs of the most recent confrontation between members of the government-dependent underclass and the hard-working middle class, just as the social engineers planned it. As governments cut spending in a failed attempt to fix deficits and reduce their debt, it is exactly the underclass that feels the pinch first. But instead of attacking government policies and the entities responsible for the financial collapse, this uneducated underclass takes it upon themselves to beat the daylights out of middle class folks who suffer from the bank-sponsored self-inflicted financial crisis.

The financial and political apartheid taking place in the world -where governments steal the people’s pension funds to invest them in fictitious financial products, banks get bailed-out as they charge interest rates and / or fees for people to keep money in their accounts, the government cuts social security and medical care spending, people’s paychecks and pension buy less food- will continue to increase social volatility not only in London or Greece, but in the Americas, Asia, Africa and everywhere else. The Social Experiment failed horribly. But then again, it was meant to fail. The divisions meant to occur in order to monopolize, control and conquer arrived right on time.

The underclass as well as the dumbed down middle-class that for centuries sucked off the system through government established dependence programs only woke up after finding themselves with no jobs, no pension, no savings and no future. They woke up from their eternal state of slavery because the bribery scheme known as welfare that the government used to hook them up is suddenly crashing down, and they have not safety net to fall onto. What do I mean by bribery scheme? In 2007, the richest country in the planet had at least 52.6 percent of the people receiving government aid of some sort: pensions, social security and so on.. One in five Americans held a government job or a job that depended on government spending. Around 19 million used food stamps and 2 million got subsidized housing. If that is not government bribery, I don’t know what is it. The social engineers made sure from the start that only two classes existed: the productive class and the parasitical class. Both the government and the dependent classes are equally violent towards those who produce and who support them throughout their lives.

But perhaps one of the most abhorrent aspects of the current societal collapse is that the social engineers point to the underclass and the working class as those responsible for the crisis. That’s right. They accuse the so-called “useless eaters” for their greed and for living beyond their means and hold them responsible for the crisis we now experience. Both the underclass and a large part of the middle class are in part responsible for their greed and decadence. But weren’t they born and bathed into a system that promoted and facilitated their greed, decadence and dependence? Of course they were. Should the underclass and the middle class then be held responsible for the now developing crisis because they were greedy and dependent? Of course not. But that is what the bankers, the social engineers want the dumbed down majority to think, and that is why tonight racial divides grow bigger in London, the United States, Africa and Asia. The underclass believes that the middle class are the ones responsible for the crisis because they are successful business owners and were able to take care of themselves and their families. In the meantime, the bankers who are responsible for both classes’ misery run rampant ripping people off around the world.

The people are to blame, say the bankers, because they want more services but don’t want to pay more taxes. Due to the fact millions have not bought the propaganda, the government is now playing the collectivist card. “There is no need to look for anyone to blame because we must now come together to solve our problems”. Neither the government nor the banks want the taxpayers to fully understand that these two entities are solely responsible for the current state of affairs. Governments have bribed citizens openly for at least a century in order to control them, therefore it is insane to believe that someone will buy the government and bank sponsored propaganda.

While millions of people lose their jobs, homes and lives because they cannot afford them, a few decadent scum bags consume themselves in fake tribalism, racism, theft and violence while the cowardly ones wait for the state to do something and beg for Martial Law and a Police State. Those who accepted the American-created culture of death, sex, thuggery, drug use, suicide and gang oriented behaviours are now acting as what they always dreamed to be: a bunch of disaffected slaves with no jobs or future that look up at rappers, singers, sports figures, electronics, alcohol and drugs to fulfill their empty lives. The world went from praising explorers, scientists, fire fighters, inventors and community leaders to worship ‘bling’ and Madison Avenue-created delusion.

Those who took advantage of a corrupt debt-based system to get their holiday vacation, car and house loans were shocked after the banks that own their livelihoods cut off lines of credit three years ago to put an end to the fantasy reality they were accustomed to for so many years. Those who foolishly believed that paying into the public pension system would guarantee them some devalued change to live the rest of their lives, even though many had warned of its non-existence, were not only fools, but also irreparable willful ignorants. They trusted their government so much to give them everything, that no room was left to think that the same State could one day decided to take it all away; which is what is happening now. So now, the most dependent members of society are blaming other citizens and not the banks and the governments for their misery. Why? Because blame is the base of Statism and the State has shown people well to accept the blame game when it favours the State. They are now begging the social engineers to put an end to their misery. Events like the riots in London and the United States are just the beginning of what is turning out to be a long summer and a coming long winter. Street violence, crime and government opposition will be used by the controllers to take away more of our rights. Government will use armies and violence against peaceful protesters before bringing out austerity and a more visible Police State, to crush people’s right to speak and arm to themselves, track social media, email accounts, and any other sign of dissent.

Now, this is what a broken down society looks like in the developed world. Can you imagine what will it look like in socialist or inherently paternalistic poor countries when austerity, hunger and deep misery gets there?