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The Austerity In Spain Is Forcing Desperate Measures

Spain's economic crisis is felt in schools, supermarkets and rubbish bins.
By Amiel Ungar
First Publish: 8/13/2012, 3:33 AM

No more cuts
No more cuts
Reuters

Three widely reported stories highlight the economic crisis in Spain. They also raise the question of what can be expected of Spain, should the country have to resort to a bailout. If the country is in this stage, how much more austerity can be imposed on it?

As a result of the high unemployment rate from which Spain suffers, many parents could no longer afford €4.5 euros for school lunches and opted to send their children to school with lunch boxes from home. Now Spain will charge €3 a day for these children, presumably for use of the dining room and supervision.

In Girona, a city with a rich Jewish history before the expulsion, the municipality has resorted to the unusual measure of locking trash bins to prevent people from searching for discarded food. The practice produced actual scuffles when supermarkets cleared their shelves from items past their selling dates. The municipality justified the measure as dictated by health risks.

In the region of Andalusia, unions and regional deputies affiliated with the Union of the Left barged into supermarkets and filled up shopping carts with basic staples in order to distribute them to the poor. Although Spain's largest unions condemn the action, hundreds of workers participated in the action that was intended to "expropriate the expropriators" with banks, landlords and supermarkets labeled expropriators.

Last week the trade unions met with King Juan Carlos to explain to him that the government's policy was a form of economic suicide, while a bailout would bring further misery. They claimed that since the government - during the election campaign - concealed its economic program, it should now submit the current policies to a popular referendum.