Argentina’s presidential debate began this Sunday with a heated back-and-forth in which the libertarian Javier Milei confirmed that he will dollarize the economy and close the Central Bank, while his rival, the ruling party Sergio Massa, launched constant consultations about his economic proposals. .
During the first axis dedicated to the economy, the candidate of Unión por la Patria (Peronism) challenged the libertarian to answer “yes or no” if he will eliminate subsidies, dollarize the Argentine economy, end the Central Bank and privatize “rivers.” and seas” at the same time as the Vaca Muerta site. “If you were Pinocchio, you would have already hurt my eye,” said the leader of La Libertad Avanza (ultra-right) in response to the repeated accusations of “liar” leveled at him by the current Minister of Economy and warned him that he was not going to “condition” with your questions.
Argentina is facing a socioeconomic crisis with year-on-year inflation of 138.3% and poverty of 40.1%.
“Think that if we had convertibility we would have an average income of 1,800 dollars and not this misery that we have today. Yes, I am going to eliminate the Central Bank because it is what generates inflation. And I said that I am not going to touch the subsidies,” Milei responded, annoyed. He added that he will not touch rate subsidies (on services such as transportation or electricity that currently allow lower prices), because it will allow “the economy to recover and when the economy recovers they will be able to pay those rates”.
For his part, Massa rhetorically asked his opponent if “he lied throughout the campaign or is lying tonight” and insisted with the question: “Are you going to dollarize the economy or not?” To which the liberal replied: “Yes, we are going to dollarize the economy, we are going to close the Central Bank and end the cancer of inflation.”
Currently, Argentina is facing a socioeconomic crisis with year-on-year inflation of 138.3% and poverty of 40.1%, to which are added constant exchange rate attacks due to the fragility of its currency with respect to the US dollar.
Finally, he took the opportunity to include -although negatively- former president Mauricio Macri (2015-2019), who gave him his support in this second round, in his responses: “You blew our income, with you as Minister of Economy it fell 33% income, which had already been falling with Macri.” Massa picked up the gauntlet and recalled that countries like Zimbabwe have dollarized their economy and the Federated States of Micronesia in Oceania have eliminated their central banks.
“Argentina’s exit is with an increase in exports, with the 40,000 million dollars more that we are going to export next year, construction of work on the basis of better income and with an agreement of national unity that allows us to reduce the system of taxes including withholdings,” Massa added.
The Peronist affirmed the need to rediscuss the program with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which he considered “inflationary”, as well as increase exports to be able to accumulate reserves to pay the financial entity.
Work and production
One of Massa’s intentions, if he wins the elections, is to create two million jobs through state incentives that promote exports, seeking the support of the business community and employees. “I have proposed to create 2 million formal registered jobs. On the one hand, it has to be with incentives provided by the State and, on the other, with the efforts of businessmen and workers,” explained the candidate, current Minister of Economy.
He assured that as of January 1, there will be “zero taxes on everything that is the incremental exporter”, as well as reduction and simplification of the tax system and a payment of social charges for northern Argentina to “recover asymmetries.” Along these lines, he added that he will return to the idea of transforming assistance plans into work and strengthening regional economies with the removal of withholdings to increase production volumes. Something that Milei sought to refute by indicating that the private sector has been stagnating since 2011 at around 6,000,000 million jobs and at similar production levels.
“When you look at the Argentine per capita product, it is 15% below. And that, in reality, occurs basically because there is no investment,” he stated.
According to the latest estimates from the IMF, the purchasing power of Argentines in 2022 was $22,158.41, an advance for the second consecutive year, but it is 10% less than a decade ago, when GDP per capita reached 24,648. dollars in 2011.