“La gasolina ha subido, como tantas otras cosas” [ .. ] “Todo está más caro” [ .. ] “La penuria comenzó con el euro” [ .. ] “Mamá, ¿somos pobres..?”
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De una madre separada a su hija y una periodista del New York Times:
-“No, hija; no somos pobres” [ .. ] “Pero la clase medía solía vivir bien. Cuando se ha vivido bien, es difícil acostumbrarse a vivir malamente”…
MADRID: When María Salgado stopped to fill the fuel tank of her Peugeot 307 this month, she thought the cashier had fiddled with the meter.
“It was 50. I couldn’t believe it. I was convinced the guy was ripping me off,” said Salgado, 37, who earns around 1,200 euros, or $1,900, a month directing documentaries for two major Spanish television channels. “What’s happened to the price of fuel here is outrageous.”
Gasoline is just one of many basic items whose costs have skyrocketed in the last year. But with no hope of a pay rise in her job any time soon, Salgado is finding that she must think twice before spending on the little pleasures that tend to make her happy, from a fish dinner to a cinema ticket.
“Everything is expensive,” she said during an interview in her apartment in northern Madrid where she lives with her two children. “The price of groceries is a joke. Never before in my life had I spent 20 on vegetables. Now, I spend 20 every time I go to the market.”
Like many Spaniards, she traces her sense of penury back to the introduction of the euro in 1999, but says that rising prices in the past year have bitten further into her modest budget.
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Still, she says, life is a permanent battle to monitor every cent she spends to get by. She has cut down on fish, buying it once a week, and switched to supermarket brands instead of buying at pricier health-food shops.
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“I don’t even try to save. My aim is to get to the end of each month without my bank account going down to zero. If it goes to zero, that’s when I really panic,” she said.
“My daughter, Violeta, asked me, ‘Mama, are we poor?’ I said: ‘No, we’re not poor,’ ” added Salgado with a laugh. “But the middle class used to live well. And if you have lived well, it’s hard to live so badly.”
[International Herald Tribune, 30 abril 08. Spaniards pursue constant vigilance, By Victoria Burnett]
● Economía en este Infierno.