Saturday, June 19, 2010

The IMF Thinks Spain Is Doing The Right Thing....Run For Your Lives!

The title of the post is influenced by a cartoon I remember about the war in Bosnia, substitute a UN safe zone for the IMF and you'll get the idea. In any case, I have to reveal that the Spanish press got it wrong today when they reported the IMF general secretary as predicting 20 years of growth for the Spanish economy, he was actually talking about his own salary at the time.

To be fair Dominique Strauss-Kahn didn't actually attempt to specify when those 20 years might begin, so he could still claim to be right even if this unexpected boom follows another 30 years of recession. The IMF is a big believer in the theory that if you push somebody into a deep well then you should get the credit if they eventually manage to climb out of it again. Even if you only manage to climb half way before falling back again they'll still claim the credit for your efforts.

Still, Zapatero was probably relieved just to get the endorsement without having the now habitual references to all the additional measures that are supposedly essential. It was nice just to hear someone talking about economic recovery, it's a concept that's gone out of fashion recently. That Zapatero has become a true convert to the cause was demonstrated by the reports of his meeting with David Cameron, apparently he urged Cameron to press ahead quickly with his cuts package. As if David needed any persuading.

The government is also pushing hard to make sure that the labour market reform (or state subsidised dismissal if you prefer) gets approved by the Spanish parliament before the end of the summer. It looks like the Catalan nationalists of CiU will be the ones to help them do that in return for a few still unspecified favours. The Partido Popular will divide over the issue, its Marxist wing will denounce the reform as an attack on the workers whilst the rest of the party will criticise it for not going far enough.

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