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May 13, 2013
May 13, 2013

Big truths

Author: Lucía Etxebarría Translator: Anna Papoutsi
Source: Facebook  Category: Letters from home
This article is also available in: eles
Big truths

There are alternatives!
In defense of Public Services!

“Saturday night. I caught my hand at the kitchen door (I’m very accident prone at home: I’m Sagittarius and I haven’t got any “body awareness”). I went alone to the hospital of Sant Pau because my partner stayed at home to take care of my daughter. I was lead to the waiting room. There was a girl crying… I asked her age. She was 18, studying in Barcelona and she had an ear infection. She had already been there for two hours. Her family was in Girona. I know that otitis hurts like crazy, I’ve had it. But she was also crying because she was scared and alone. I went up to the nurse and asked her to give the girl some painkillers. The nurse told me that she could not administrate anything without the doctor’s authorisation. “And where’s the doctor?”. “Busy and it could take hours still”. And then she looked at me and said: “You’re a writer, right? Write about this. Describe what the situation is”. And so I decided to do.

Let’s clear the air. They are not making cuts in public health because things are so bad, but because it is a big industry, and if privatised, like in the US, many will become millionaires.

We could make cuts in many other sectors.

The bullfights are subsidised, costing us €564 million a year.

The football clubs too, although indirectly. They owe €750 million to the Tax Revenue Office and €11million to the Social Security Funds.

In fact, the EU has already proposed an investigation into the Spanish football league due to the alleged state aid.

We could eliminate for life salaries and annuities and prohibit by law that former presidents get paid by private firms while enjoying their annuity: González and Aznar still receive their €80,000 pensions while receiving high salaries from Gas Natural and Endesa, for example.

We could prohibit that politicians be paid by the state and private firms at the same time: Acebes is getting paid by the Congress and Iberdrola, for example.

We may cut the salaries for political office. If a citizen has to work for 35 years to receive a pension, I cannot see why MPs can do it after seven, or why they don’t have to pay a third of their salary for income tax, as do the rest of us.

We could toughen the penalties for tax evasion. 72% of this fraud comes from large companies with over €150 million a year, and from the banking sector. We would save €90 billion.

We could eliminate the concordat with the Vatican. The total savings would be between €6 and €10 billion. Jesus preached poverty and the Church must be maintained by the contributions of the believers, as St. Paul himself said.

That girl crying in the ER could be your daughter. Worse even, she could be suffering from leukaemia. And if she did, private insurance would not help because the best specialists are working for the public sector. I know this because it is a disease that I have lived closely.

Whoever is reading me: please be aware. Football is a business. Bullfights, torture. The expenses of Congress, an unnecessary luxury. Annuities, a huge lack of ethics. Faith is a choice. But health is a right.

The same could be said about education. Are you really going to allow this? Or is it that you are allergic to demonstrations?

Fight for what is ours, for your rights. For real democracy.



[1] Former PMs of Spain

[2] Ángel Acebes is a MP with the Popular Party of Spain and has been Minister of Justice and Internal Affairs; he was actually the Minister in charge during the Madrid Bombings on March 11th 2004

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