Friday, June 28, 2013

Sour grapes

The government of Spain  tells nonagenarians they shouldn't have worked so hard when they were younger; because it now costs them money;
Verónico Martínez, 92, is the son of the blacksmith of Yetas. ....he and his wife Marcela Fernández spent their lives working the land: sowing potatoes, reaping rosemary and lavender. For 17 years, he also traveled to France for the grape and tomato harvests with a group of village men. Marcela went with him on eight occasions. "It was so we could make enough money to eat," she says in her thin voice. "Not because I liked it."
Never did they dream that, 40 years later, those two-day train trips followed by four months of back-breaking work would come back to haunt them. On April 30, a letter was mailed from the Social Security offices in Albacete. This letter .... was informing him that he was going to lose a third of his pension because of 79.66 euros a month that Marcela gets from France as a result of her occasional work there four decades ago. The couple were unsure how to interpret the administrative jargon, but the letter was not a mistake. It is one of many that are being sent out to villagers across Spain.
Verónico gets the minimum pension, 598.80 euros, and until now he was also receiving a supplement of 180.10 euros for having a dependent, Marcela, in his care. But this year, the small print in the budget includes an item that had slipped by unnoticed until a few days ago: any financial assistance by a foreign country to a dependent automatically means losing this supplement. With 79 euros and two broken hips, Marcela Fernández is now considered a self-sufficient woman. Not only that, but the couple must return the supplementary 720.40 euros that they have received since January.
Which means that depriving the couple of 180 Euros (about $250 USD) because of a pension of less than 80 Euros is a tax rate of about 225%.

On the Spanish poor.

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