All of Europe is broke, but Spain is broker, and for a long time Catalonia appeared to be even broker still. For years its public finances have been in disorder and its banks on the verge of collapse. But Catalonia remains the economic, research, and financial powerhouse of Spain. Many of its woes come from the need to carry the rest of Spain—with its bubbles and its scandals and its elaborate patronage systems—on its back. Catalonia has a trade surplus of almost $30 billion with the rest of the country, and loses 10 percent of its gross domestic product to the other regions through transfer programs. When a nationalist march in Barcelona, the capital, on September 11 drew huge crowds, Mas seized the moment to demand a less onerous fiscal compact from Madrid. Since that could have imperiled 1 or 2 percent of the Spanish budget, conservative premier Mariano Rajoy, already facing budgetary pressure from Euroean authorities, said no. Mas dissolved the Catalan parliament and asked the public for an “indestructible majority” to hold an independence referendum within four years.