Politics is Spains largest industry, confirms the State Auditor

A new study shows that Politics is now the largest Spanish employer, according to the State Auditor (Tribunal de Cuentas – is that a good translation? Good enough).

145,000 jobs are directly assigned by political parties. For example, that’s more people than the entire staff of Spain’s six largest banks (Santander, BBVA, Caixabank, Popular, Sabadell y Bankinter).

In fact, it’s equivalent to the combined staff of the top third of the companies that make up Spain’s IBEX-35 stock exchange.

Looking at this from another angle, it’s estimated that’s half a million direct votes controlled by these political parties.

Let’s break the salaries down, using the official stats as provided by ElMundo:

Salaries in MILLIONS of euros managed by the main political parties of Spain

So PSOE is responsible for giving away jobs to a total salary of almost 37 million euros a year. PP 35 million euros. IU about 8 million. Etc. That’s tax payers money, by the way.

In the last quarter of 2013, official labour stats show that 39,500 jobs in the Judicial and Legislative branches of government were assigned by political parties. That’s more than the combined Spanish staff of Iberdrola, Endesa y Repsol. It’s 11,500 more jobs than at the start of la crisis in 2007.

How does this work?

Well, it’s due to the way Spain is broken up into different layers of government (that all do the same damn thing). Townhall, Diputación (County Council), Provincial Government Department, Autonomous Region, , Central Government. All of these government organisations have jobs whose holders are officially appointed after every election by whoever wins.

Let’s take the PSOE as an example. There are always plenty of politically assigned jobs at the townhall level (secretary, administrative, etc). The Diputación is the same, whoever controls the County Council can assign loads and loads of jobs which range from top-level managerial jobs (38 in Almeria province alone, I think, all with a salary of over 100K a year), as well as middle ranking managers and, of course, those plum jobs at state owned corporations. Ever wondered why, for example, Galasa the water company is so badly run? It’s because the entire board of directors are cherry picked every 4 four years by the politicians, and they just sit there drawing a fat cheque instead of actually running the company.

Etc. Etc. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Let’s go back to the politicians. 60,000 town councillors in Spain no longer draw a salary. However in order to “balance the inequality of a person working for free for the common good” there political parties are able to assign them “jobs” which draw a salary from taxpayers cash. The PP currently has assigned 26.499 councillors public positions, and a further 3.790 Mayors, in order to “topup” their salaries, ignoring the fact that these people do get paid hefty compensation for having to attend townhall meetings.  The PSOE 21.677 councillors, 2.300 Mayors.

20.000 “advisors”.

When you can’t find them a post, invent one, right? So there are 20,000 people in this country who are paid good salaries to be “advisors” by the political parties. That’s more than work for IAG (BA and Iberia). Cronies and family members mostly. The official name for these people says it all: asesores contratados a dedo. Advisors contracted “by finger”, ie, without having to put the job out to public tender. A townhall wants to renovate the downtown area? They hire an asesores contratados a dedo whose only qualification has to be that “they have an good knowledge of the area”, and that person draws a good paycheck for “advising local knowledge” on the renovation plan. Who gets that job? You guessed it…. Oh, and it’s totally legal.

1.500 “personal assistants”

Another good post. Politicians need “personal advisors” – secretaries, flunkies, etc. No conflict of interest laws mean close friends or family members get these taxpayer funded jobs. EU rules encourage it!

More jobs at elections

According to the State Auditor, these political parties hire very few direct people. The PP, for example, is run state wide with just 435 salaries. The PSOE, 540. However – when elections near, this changes.

Although the parties don’t have to officially declare the number of people working for them (huh? Why not? the above figures were “voluntarily” declared by the PP and the PSOE) the State Auditor is convinced that at election times the number of people working for the parties peak. The parties have argued this is due to the increase in work caused by the elections. Still…

Oh, and I’m not even going to mention the unions, a bunch of people who were turned down from the political parties for being too corrupt, so they went and formed their own unions. “Champagne socialists”? Well, they wouldn’t drink Cava, it’s far too political a drink…

Oh – and they’re all bankrupt

By the way, it’s been confirmed this week that 17 major political parties are not only insolvent, they constantly break the law regulating the filing of political accounts with no comeback. The biggest infringer, according to the State Auditor, which has now filed a series of complaints with the Tax Authority and Public Prosecutor, is the IU in Andalucía (the coalition partners) who are not only tens of millions of euros into the red, they haven’t filed proper accounts for a decade and refuse to comply with the law.

So far, not one complaint against another of these parties has been upheld… probably because in every single region, the person responsible for investigating these complaints is appointed by the politicians every four years.

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