Let’s see if we can keep this straight: the Spanish banking system is crippled by bad construction loans made in boom-ier times; Spanish government backstops the banks that made those loans; those liabilities drive Spain’s sovereign borrowing costs to new highs; neither austerity measures nor Europe’s pledge to inject 100 billion euros into Spanish banks has arrested rising borrowing costs; which also affects the borrowing costs of regional governments such as that of Valencia; leading the national government to create an 18 billion euro bailout mechanism for the regions; which Valencia and Murcia promptly said they’d tap.
What’s that have to do with prostitutes?
Let’s go back to the enfeebled Spanish banks, the ones that made those now-soured loans. Last month, the Spanish government nationalized Bankia, the nation’s third-largest lender and the result of a 2010 merger of seven so-called cajas, or savings banks. Traditionally, the cajas distributed a share of their profits to social and cultural programs, a source of funding that’s would prove all the more useful as government spending tightens. If only said funding was still there. From Bloomberg:
The collapse in social spending by the former Bankia savings banks will be felt in Torrejon de Ardoz, a suburban Madrid town, where the Alzheimer’s support group that Rodelgo helps run relied on donations such as a 6,000-euro grant in 2010 to equip patients’ homes with handrails, said Rodelgo.
Our Lady of Montserrat Foundation, which runs a senior citizens home for 97 people, will also be hurt. The foundation had relied for years on Caja Madrid to fund repairs and therapy programs, Director Mari Cruz Hidalgo said in a phone interview.
Caja Madrid has also contributed since 2002 to Medecins du Monde, which runs a fleet of mini-buses providing medical attention to prostitutes, said Guillermo Algar, a spokesman for the group. The organization distributed 210,187 condoms in 2011, according to a statement on its website.
Which, on the bright side, economic stimulus by higher birth rate, right?