Regional Deficits In Spain Foretell More Austerity to Come

One of the legacies of the reaction against Francoism is that Spain is one of the more decentralized European polities, and that means that regional government budget deficits are a big deal there. One point I would make about this is that I’m not familiar with any government at any level ever deciding to budget for a “just in case” scenario of a years-long economic contraction featuring a prolonged period of twenty percent unemployment. All governments base their budgets on economic projections and nobody ever predicts that outcome. So if it happens anywhere, you’re going to have a huge budgetary problem. Whether you want to characterize that as “irresponsible” budgeting or not is up to you, but if it’s irresponsible then irresponsibility is the norm.

But whatever you want to call it, the upshot is the same. Over and above the austerity measures being implemented by the central government, Spain can look forward to additional regional-level austerity as successive rounds of tax hikes and spending cuts further crush the economy.