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The rain doesn't fall on everyone's plain in Spain

Aah, Spain joins the line of countries being bailed out of its economic crisis.    The Guardian looks behind what has been going on in Spain.....and, no surprise, some untoward conduct is revealed.     Needless to say many have not been concerned about the rain falling on their Spanish plain.  

"As European taxpayers prepare to rescue Spain's ailing banks, anti-corruption prosecutors, academics and regional parliaments are uncovering a tale of greed, cronyism and political meddling that has brought many of the country's leading savings institutions to their knees.

With the fourth biggest lender, Bankia, demanding €19bn (£15.4bn) and authorities now admitting a further €9bn is needed by two former savings banks – CatalunyaCaixa and Novagalicia – concern is focusing on both the mushrooming bill and the way banks have been run.

Court investigators are also scrutinising payments to former senior executives and the part-flotation of Bankia, in which 350,000 small investors saw two-thirds of their money wiped out.

The bill that Europe's rescue funds must pay has been increased by the multi–million euro payoffs taken by some senior executives shortly before their banks collapsed and decisions taken by unqualified board members who admit they were incapable of analysing the banks' books. Boards were stuffed with political placements or people who had little idea about banking – including, in one case, a supermarket checkout worker.

They often rubber-stamped decisions. In some cajas they were rewarded with well-paid positions on the boards of subsidiary companies as well as with luxury foreign trips and soft loans.

Trips to India, China or Chicago and the hundreds of millions of euros in loans to executives, board members and their families formed part of the gravy train of political favouritism and cronyism.

Chairmen were often unqualified politicians, with academic investigators finding a close relationship between the size of a bank's bad loan book and the inexperience, lack of qualifications and degree of politicisation of the chairman."



Meanwhile, over at The New York Times Paul Krugman writes:

"Oh, wow — another bank bailout, this time in Spain. Who could have predicted that?

The answer, of course, is everybody. In fact, the whole story is starting to feel like a comedy routine: yet again the economy slides, unemployment soars, banks get into trouble, governments rush to the rescue — but somehow it’s only the banks that get rescued, not the unemployed.

Just to be clear, Spanish banks did indeed need a bailout. Spain was clearly on the edge of a “doom loop” — a well-understood process in which concern about banks’ solvency forces the banks to sell assets, which drives down the prices of those assets, which makes people even more worried about solvency. Governments can stop such doom loops with an infusion of cash; in this case, however, the Spanish government’s own solvency is in question, so the cash had to come from a broader European fund.

So there’s nothing necessarily wrong with this latest bailout (although a lot depends on the details). What’s striking, however, is that even as European leaders were putting together this rescue, they were signaling strongly that they have no intention of changing the policies that have left almost a quarter of Spain’s workers — and more than half its young people — jobless."

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