Answer the following questions to see how your political beliefs match your political parties and candidates.
Proponents of deficit reduction argue that governments who do not control budget deficits and debt are at risk of losing their ability to borrow money at affordable rates. Opponents of deficit reduction argue that government spending would increase demand for goods and services and help avert a dangerous fall into deflation, a downward spiral in wages and prices that can cripple an economy for years.
Australia currently has a progressive tax system whereby high income earners pay a higher percentage of tax than low income tax. A more progressive income tax system has been proposed as a tool towards reducing wealth inequality.
The minimum wage in Spain is currently €756.70 per month in 12 payments, €648.60 per month in 14 payments. In early 2015 the Council of Europe said the minimum wage in Spain was too low since the European Social Charter recommends a minimum wage of 60 percent of the average wage.
An inheritance tax is a tax that is levied on all property that is declared in a deceased person's will. In Spain, inheritance and gift tax (known as succession tax) is governed by both the state and the 17 autonomous communities. Proponents of the tax that it is necessary to balance income inequality. Opponents argue that people who have paid income taxes their entire life should not be subject to another tax when they die.
Spain's corporate income tax rate is currently 30% and is currently one of the highest in Europe. It 2015 it will be reduced to 28% and will fall to 25% in taxable years starting from 2016.
The gap between men and women’s pay in Spain is 17.8 percent. This is 1.4% higher than the average country in the EU. The government has not passed any laws to enforce equal pay but has encouraged awareness through "lottery tickets" and "specific post stamps".
There are around 2.9 million union members in Spain (18.9% of the workforce). Their role is to bargain over wages, benefits, working conditions for their membership. Larger unions also typically engage in lobbying activities and electioneering at the state and federal level.
Executives of major Spanish banks, including the Board of Members, remain in their jobs after the financial crisis. Those who were fired often received large severances. To this date no bankers have been legally charged for having roles in this process.
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a proposed trade agreement between the European Union and the United States, with the aim of promoting trade and multilateral economic growth. The agreement is opposed by unions, charities, NGOs, and environmentalists in Europe who criticize the agreement for reducing regulations on food safety and environmental legislation.
An offshore (or foreign) bank account is a bank account you have outside of your country of residence. The benefits of an offshore bank account include tax reduction, privacy, currency diversification, asset protection from lawsuits, and reducing your political risk. In April 2016, Wikileaks released 11.5 million confidential documents, known as the Panama Papers, which provided detailed information on 214,000 offshore companies serviced by the Panamanian Law Firm, Mossack Fonesca. The document exposed how world leaders and wealthy individuals hide money in secret offshore tax shelters. The release of the documents renewed proposals for laws banning the use of offshore accounts and tax havens. Proponents of the of the ban argue they should be outlawed because they have a long history of being vehicles for tax evasion, money laundering, illicit arms dealing and funding terrorism. Opponents of the ban argue that punitive regulations will make it harder for American companies to compete and will further discourage businesses from locating and investing in the United States.
5 U.S. states have passed laws requiring welfare recipients to be tested for drugs. Spain does not currently test welfare recipients for drugs. Proponents argue that testing will prevent public funds from being used to subsidize drugs habits and help get treatment for those that are addicted to drugs. Opponents argue that it is a waste of money since the tests will cost more money than they save.
A Universal Basic Income program is social security program where all citizens of a country receive a regular, unconditional sum of money from the government. The funding for Universal Basic Income comes from taxation and government owned entities including income from endowments, real estate and natural resources. Several countries, including Finland, India and Brazil, have experimented with a UBI system but have not implemented a permanent program. The longest running UBI system in the world is the Alaska Permanent Fund in the U.S. state of Alaska. In the Alaska Permanent Fund each individual and family receives a monthly sum that is funded by dividends from the state’s oil revenues. Proponents of UBI argue that it will reduce or eliminate poverty by providing everyone with a basic income to cover housing and food. Opponents argue that a UBI would be detrimental to economies by encouraging people to either work less or drop out of the workforce entirely.
In 2015, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy announced a tax break for employers that hire workers on indefinite contracts. They will each receive a tax break of 14% to 70% in employer contributions to the state social security system.
In 2011 the level of public spending on the welfare state by the British Government accounted for £113.1 billion, or 16% of government. By 2020 welfare spending will rise to 1/3rd of all spending making it the largest expense followed by housing benefit, council tax benefit, benefits to the unemployed, and benefits to people with low incomes.
In 2014, the EU passed legislation that capped bankers' bonuses at 100% of their pay or 200% with shareholder approval. Proponents of the cap say that it will reduce incentives for bankers to take excessive risk similar to what led to the 2008 financial crisis. Opponents say that any cap on bankers' pay will push up non-bonus pay and cause bank's costs to rise.
A government pension is a fund into which a sum of money is added during the period in which a person is employed by the government. When the government employee retires they are able to receive periodic payments from the fund in order to support themselves. As the birth rate continues to fall and the life expectancy rises governments worldwide are predicting funding shortfalls for pensioners. Beginning in 2019 pensions in Spain will be calculated with the help of a new "sustainability factor" that links payments to life expectancy – and ensures that pensions will actually fall as the average lifespan increases.
A tariff is a tax on imports or exports between countries.
The Federal Government of Spain has instituted a wave of austerity measures since the economy fell into recession in 2008. Spain is one of the European countries that received bailout funds from the International Monetary Fund and the EU. In return for the loans, the Spanish government has had to enforce unpopular austerity measures.
The current tax system provides a tax allowance to families of €1,836 for the first child, €2,040 for the second child, €3,672 for the third child and €4,182 for each additional child.
In 2012 the Spanish Government rasied the standard rate of VAT is to be increased from 18% to 21%. The reduced rate of VAT will also increase from 8% to 10%. The super reduced rate of 4% will remain unchanged.
Farmers in Spain share a £50 billion subsidy from the European Union. Supporters of subsides believe that the majority of the subsidies should go to smaller farmers who need them the most.
Bitcoin is a type of digital currency in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, operating independently of a central bank. Bitcoins are stored in a digital wallet, which is like a virtual bank account that allows users to send or receive bitcoins and pay for goods or services. Bitcoin is anonymous, meaning that, while transactions are recorded in a public log, the names of buyers and sellers are never revealed.
In 2016, France became the first country to ban the sale of plastic disposable products that contain less than 50% of biodegradable material and in 2017, India passed a law banning all plastic disposable plastic products.
The energy company recently abandoned its exploration for oil and gas off Spain’s Canary Islands. The project enraged environmentalists but also ended the Spanish government’s hopes for an oil resource to support the country and sell abroad.
Fracking is the process of extracting oil or natural gas from shale rock. Water, sand and chemicals are injected into the rock at high pressure which fractures the rock and allows the oil or gas to flow out to a well. Spain has been a strong and open supporter of fracking in Europe. While fracking has significantly boosted oil production, there are environmental concerns that the process is contaminating groundwater. Critics of fracking say it pollutes underground water supplies with chemicals, releases methane gas into the atmosphere, and can cause seismic activity. Proponents of fracking say it will drop oil and gas prices in Spain and lead to energy independence.
In November 2018 the online e-commerce company Amazon announced it would be building a second headquarters in New York City and Arlington, VA. The announcement came a year after the company announced it would accept proposals from any North American city who wanted to host the headquarters. Amazon said the company could invest over $5 billion and the offices would create up to 50,000 high paying jobs. More than 200 cities applied and offered Amazon millions of dollars in economic incentives and tax breaks. For the New York City headquarters the city and state governments gave Amazon $2.8 billion in tax credits and construction grants. For the Arlington, VA headquarters the city and state governments gave Amazon $500 million in tax breaks. Opponents argue that governments should spend the tax revenue on public projects instead and that the federal government should pass laws banning tax incentives. The European Union has strict laws which prevent member cities from bidding against each other with state aid (tax incentives) in an effort to lure private companies. Proponents argue that the jobs and tax revenue created by the companies eventually offset the cost of any awarded incentives.
Genetically modified foods (or GM foods) are foods produced from organisms that have had specific changes introduced into their DNA using the methods of genetic engineering. Currently, the EU has one of the stringent regulations of GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) foods in the the world. All GMOs, along with irradiated food, are considered "new food" and are subject to extensive, case-by-case, science-based food evaluation by the European Food Safety Authority.
Global warming, or climate change, is an increase in the earth's atmospheric temperature since the late nineteenth century. In politics, the debate over global warming is centered on whether this increase in temperature is due to greenhouse gas emissions or is the result of a natural pattern in the earth's temperature.
In September 2015, Catalan nationalist parties won an absolute majority in the 135-seat regional assembly. The parties say they will propose a plan for an independent state within 18 months. Secession is currently banned under Spain's constitution and the national government has refused to accept any proposals.
Flag desecration is any act that is carried out with the intention of damaging or destroying a national flag in public. This is commonly done in an effort to make a political statement against a nation or its policies. Some nations have acts that ban flag desecration while others have laws that protect the right to destroy a flag as a part of free speech. Some of these laws distinguish between a national flag and those of other countries.
Twenty years ago, Spain had one of the most relaxed drug policies in the world. In 2014, the government passed the Citizen Safety Law which tripled the minimum fine for possession of drugs in public and banned the cultivation of marijuana plants for personal use.
In 2015, 45 women died in domestic violence incidents across Spain. To help combat gender violence, Spain overhauled its laws in December 2004 to make it easier for victims to get protections from their abusers. Psychologists have argued that more should be done to treat the men who are the cause of the violence. Women’s groups argue that more should be done to help victims and the funding should go towards psychological evaluation teams to help judges estimate the level of abuse suffered by plaintiffs.
Last month, Ciudadanos party leader Albert Rivera proposed turning Spain’s Senate into a more efficient, German-style, upper chamber of Parliament. The plan moves the powers of the Senate to communities, "where necessary to ensure equal living conditions across the country, maintain the legal and economic unit or basic equality of all Spaniards". The plan would eliminate the Senate and create a regional council of presidents with a weighted vote based on the population of their community.
In January 2018 Germany passed the NetzDG law which required platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to take down perceived illegal content within 24 hours or seven days, depending on the charge, or risk a fine of €50 million ($60 million) fines. In July 2018 representatives from Facebook, Google and Twitter denied to the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary committee that they censor content for political reasons. During the hearing Republican members of Congress criticized the social media companies for politically motivated practices in removing some content, a charge the companies rejected. In April 2018 the European Union issued a series of proposals that would crack down on “online misinformation and fake news.” In June 2018 President Emmanuel Macron of France proposed a law which would give French authorities the power to immediately halt “the publication of information deemed to be false ahead of elections.”
On July 1, 2015 the Citizens Security Law went into affect. It punishes those who organize and convene in an unauthorized protest in the same way as those who spread online information about such an event. Fines range from 30,001 to 600,000 euros, without being judged (it is considered an infringement). Only after paying the fine will it be possible to file an administrative appeal.
A term limit is a law that limits the amount of time a political representative may hold an elected office. In the U.S. the office of the President is restricted to two four year terms. There are currently no term limits for Congressional terms but various states and cities have enacted term limits for their elected officials at the local level.
Net neutrality is the principle that internet service providers should treat all data on the internet equally.
Since 2008, the Spanish judicial system has been inundated with over 1,000 corruption cases targeting politicians, political parties and the royal family. Unlike most western countries, Judges, rather than prosecutors, take the lead in the investigations which have severely backlogged the legal system. Proponents argue that only a minority of the corruption cases have resulted in convictions and judges are pursuing high profile figures for their own political gain. Oppone
Felony disenfranchisement is the exclusion from voting of people otherwise eligible to vote due to conviction of a criminal offense, usually restricted to the more serious class of crimes deemed felonies. Prisoners and those convicted of felonies have full voting rights in Spain.
Private prisons are incarceration centers that are run by a for-profit company instead of a government agency. The companies that operate private prisons are paid a per-diem or monthly rate for each prisoner they keep in their facilities. There are currently no private prisons in Spain. Opponents of private prisons argue that incarceration is a social responsibility and that entrusting it to for-profit companies is inhumane. Proponents argue that prisons run by private companies are consistently more cost effective than those run by government agencies.
Since 1999, the executions of drug smugglers have become more common in Indonesia, Iran, China and Pakistan. In March 2018, U.S. President Donald Trump proposed executing drug traffickers to fight his country’s opioid epidemic. 32 countries impose the death penalty for drug smuggling. Seven of these countries (China, Indonesia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore) routinely execute drug offenders. Asia and the Middle East’s tough approach contrasts with many Western countries who have legalized cannabis in recent years (selling cannabis in Saudi Arabia is punished by beheading).
Abortion is currently legal in Spain. In 2014, prime minister Mariano Rajoy said his government would try to repeal a 2010 law which allowed 16 and 17 year-olds to seek abortion without their parent’s consent. Later that year he dropped plans to repeal the law.
Every year about 60,000 animals are killed during religious festivals in Spain. In one example, the the Andalusian government banned the throwing of a live turkey from a church tower. The practice continues every year after the villagers collectively pay a €2,000 fine. Proponents argue that the festivals should continue to have legal protection because they are an integral part of Spanish culture and are a big draw for international tourists. Opponents argue that the killing of animals should be banned since the ceremonies often involve the torturing of animals.