Three Months of Evo
According to the graph, the following acts are positive:
1. Constituent Assembly and Referendum: Although the article cites this as positive based on how quickly the law was approved (1 month), is does not mention that the CA could signal the death for Bolivian democracy. If we consider that Chavez is Evo's role model, can we still put this among the positives? 'Fraid not.
2. Austerity: The graph says it is positive that the government cut salaries in the executive power half. However, by cutting the salaries of government workers in half, Evo is giving them incentives to become corrupt. If anything, Evo should have raised the salaries so that people working for the government do not have time or incentives to embark in corrupt activities, because they'd earn so much as it were anyway. What good does it make cutting a miserable president's salary in half, when the president is later caught trying to get $30 million richer? This should be another negative point.
3. Tarifa Dignidad: The president reduced, by decree, the cost of energy in 25%. While this is thought to have affected 2,4 million people, one should always be wary of government fixing prices. Today's the cost of energy, by tomorrow we have all prices frozen and a crisis similar to that in Allende's Chile or Siles Zuazo's Bolivia. When will governments learn that markets work best when left alone? Another negative.
4. Propais: In the last few weeks, the government said that it would create 100,000 jobs with $47 million. With only $470 per job (not taking into account administrative costs and the "corruption tax" that this administration will surely apply), it is doubtful that the jobs will last long or pay enough to make a difference. The government should realize that the best way to create jobs is giving incentives and security to private initiatives and not getting involved? Now, the logic behind this item may well be keynesian: the government is trying to boost aggregate demand. However, theory speaks of a closed and productive economy. Bolivia is neither. Therefore, this injection will probably end up increasing imports and not domestic production. I guess investors would appreciate more if the MASistas trying to take over institutions or the Sin Tierras are detained that this "boost to aggregate demand".
5. Pensions: Evo, once again by decree, ruled that pensions will be inversely proportional so that people who earned less will receive more..... what?!? Why exactly should this happen? Why should a person that earned less (and therefore contributed less) get in the more than a person that produced more and contributed more? Where does the money come from? The answer can only be explained with populism. Another negative.
6. Chile. Evo got closer to Chile and is about to start negotiations. OK, one positive. At least until Evo opens his mouth and messes things up.
7. Police. Evo is restructuring the police. While this was long overdue, there is the posibility that Evo turns the police into a political instrument, which would be bad. Thus, don't count this as a positive until it's done (and the police is not turned into a Gestapo).
Negatives: The negatives talk about corruption, loss of soja markets, extortion claims, nepotism and the reserved expenses cases that I have been blabbering about for the last 2 months. There is no mention about the unwilligness to enter into Free Trade Agreements (this is mentioned later in 'controversial actions'), inference into the Judiciary and lamentable state of the rule of law.
Pending: Nationalization, annulment of the 21060 Decree (the decree that ended years of statism and liberalized Bolivia's markets) and the minimum wage, which Evo wants to double. All of them would be negative.
1. Replacement of public authorities with MAS militants, which Evo says is needed to go on with the revolution, is nothing but a shameless attempt to get unconstrained power. Negative.
2. Corruption. Negative.
3. Free Trade Agreements. The government is not willing to negotiate them. Negative.
4. Free Identification Program. Financed by Venezuela, this is nothing but an attempt to commit fraud in the forthcoming CA. Negative.
Balance: Heartbreakingly awful.
Bolivia, Bolivien, Evo, Evo Morales