Spain's Road Away From Socialism
February 10, 1997
Political observers say Spain is following a more realistic path in its economic and social policies under the leadership of new Premier Jose Maria Aznar. An austere budget embracing $6.3 billion in spending cuts and a pay freeze for government workers is expected to help reduce inflation to 2.5 percent by the end of this year.
- Aznar has already reduced the capital gains tax, as well as other taxes hampering small and medium-size businesses.
- He has reduced the power of the professional guilds.
- More of Spain's land is being allocated for development.
- And he has begun the privatization of the telecommunications and energy industries.
While Aznar charts a course away from the big government that marked the regime of his socialist predecessor toward one that is more democratic and deregulated, his country still has pressing problems. Separatist groups still resort to violence to attain their ends. And unemployment hovers close to 22 percent.
Source: Caspar W. Weinberger (former Secretary of Defense), "Spain -- A Welcome Move to Conservatism," Forbes, February 10, 1997.
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