Argentina Senate approves controversial government budget
The accounts already approved have naturally provoked a strong rejection among the workers and the most disadvantaged sectors of Argentine society, but they can also affect sectors of the large urban middle class of the South American nation in short term
Earlier this week the plenary session of the Senate gave green light with a comfortable majority to the controversial budgets proposed by President Mauricio Macri.
The decision was surrounded by strong protest mobilizations, organized by the unions and numerous social organizations.
The new budget can be described as a prototype of neo-liberalism applied to the countries of the south, and for there to be no doubt, the figures contemplate each and every one of the demands of the IMF, which has granted a loan to the southern country of almost 60 billion dollars, thus doubling the total amount of its external debt in just two years.
Precisely the funds destined to the payment of interest of the aforementioned debt is one of the few items that grows in budgets (no less than 50%), while the sectors where expenses are drastically reduced, as expected, are health, education, pensions, culture, investments in structures, social programs and jobs in the administration.
To this, we should add the VAT (Value Added Tax) increases and the tariffs in most of the basic services. Only the transport subsidy maintains its level, given the great distances between the cities of the country, and that more than a third of the population is concentrated in the huge Buenos Aires.
The budget also includes forecasts of an inflation of 39%, the growth of unemployment and the loss of value of the national currency against the US dollar.
The accounts already approved have naturally provoked a strong rejection among the workers and the most disadvantaged sectors of Argentine society, but they can also affect sectors of the large urban middle class of the South American nation in the short term. Therefore it is not risky to anticipate that the social climate will be quite conflictive in the coming months, especially if we take into account that in October of next year presidential elections must be held, for which the political-electoral components will acquire a clear protagonism in the times to come.
A good example of the above was the intervention, straight and strong, of senator, and former President, Cristina Fernandez, who during the parliamentary debate did not miss the opportunity to point out that the political class has no legitimacy to ask for effort and sacrifice to a population that already suffers from too many deficiencies. She added that recession is not fought with austerity but with public investment, and that the worst thing of all was that the sacrifice of the population "is going to be useless".