Sergio Massa during the launch of "Fair Prices"
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The stories repeat themselves. It only remains to know if the end will be the same. At the end of 2020, on the way to the legislative elections, Cristina Kirchner demanded in La Plata to start “align salaries and retirements, prices, especially those of food, and rates.” The vice president said that those who were afraid of taking unsympathetic measures should go “look for another job” and then she embellished her second presidential term as a utopian moment under the economic management of Axel Kicillof. In March 2021, in Las Flores, she questioned the interest rate and the terms to pay the debt to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). She mentioned there the problems of the “bi-currency economy”.

Those milestones were the beginning of the implosion of the Frente del Todos and the camporista harassment of Martín Guzmán, who had made the mistake of believing that Alberto Fernández supported him when it came to maintaining a certain independence, at least in the election of the team that was going to accompany him to apply the tariff policy. What bothered the vice president and Máximo Kirchner the most was Guzmán’s challenge. The ex-minister had not only wanted to throw out Federico Basualdo, but had dared to describe the rate policy – the wild card of Kirchnerism – as “pro-rich”.

Guzmán’s “revenge” came, curiously, hours after a speech by his former political boss. A tribute to how he methodically implemented his resignation, overshadowing a speech from his former boss. “Máximo Kirchner acted like a capricious boy and that is expensive for the country. He was asking for a 40-year agreement with the IMF, it is something that is not possible. Now the vice president, who is his mother, gives power to someone who cannot exercise it responsibly ”, Guzman said.

History repeats itself. On Thursday, Cristina Kirchner He again asked to “align prices, wages and rates” and spoke of the “conditions” of the IMF. It is curious that Alberto Fernández mentioned tax overcharges before Kristalina Georgieva in Bali. The vice president returned to her old theories of “bi-monetary economy” and “external constraint”, and then returned to the claim of “things to be done better”, a light version of “officials that do not work”. In the end, she remembered that there are those who questioned her second term, again. She did not mention it, but Matías Kulfas is always in her thoughts. Was the act of the Day of the Militancy the beginning of a new political crisis on the eve of the presidential elections? This new cycle would have to put Sergio Massa on alert.

Sergio Massa during the launch of “Fair Prices”Ricardo Pristupluk

Cristina Kirchner spoke about inflation. She mentioned the 6.3% of October, but she forgot that the total basket –the floor of indigence- has already increased more than 100% in twelve months. Then she recalled that, in her governments – the current one is only Alberto’s, despite the fact that she elected him with a tweet – salary weighed more heavily on the gross domestic product. The vice president is right to want to flee from today. In the first quarter of 2016, workers had 54.6%. After the exchange crisis during the macrismo, in the first three months of 2020, that percentage was 49.8%. In the fourth Kirchnerism, workers keep 46.9%, according to official data from INDEC. Everything is worse today.

Another scene repeats. In June 2011, the president of the Senate and the then head of the Chamber of Deputies (Sergio Massa) gave a 40% increase to legislative staff to break the ceiling imposed by Guzmán (supposedly backed by Alberto Fernández). This week, the vice president gave a lump sum of $30,000 to the same workers to put pressure on the President with his idea of ​​a generalized lump sum, which implies more spending. It will be necessary to wonder if Massa this time accompanies that redistribution of income that the vice asks for.

It is that, far below the radar and to avoid political noise, Massa lowers spending much more than Guzmán did, permanently harassed by the vice president. “In the last four months there has been a 16.2% year-on-year reduction in primary spending, which contrasts with the expansive behavior of the first semester (+12.5%). This dynamic in the monthly behavior of primary spending leads to a cumulative reduction of 1.6% year-on-year as of October.” wrote the Congressional Budget Office (OPC) in a report last month.

The document prepared by Pablo Barousse, María Laura Cafarelli, Julieta Olivieri warns that, during the first ten months of the year, the income of the National Administration totaled $10,324,859 million, reflecting a drop in real terms of 4.7% year-on-year. However, if the collection of the Solidarity and Extraordinary Contribution and the income of pesos from the Fund’s Special Drawing Rights (DEG) are eliminated from the base of comparison, total income would register real growth of 5.4% year-on-year.

Total expenses, meanwhile, reached $13,023,289 million and decreased 2.1% in the interannual comparison. It’s funny where it was cut. Mainly in subsidies granted by the National Productive Development Fund (Fondep), which fell 83.3%. Added to this are goods and services (-31.3%) and capital expenditures (-12.1%). But there are other “orders” that can produce internal tensions: the Universal Child Allowance (AUH) shows a cut of -12.4% in ten months; food policies, 7.9%; while energy subsidies remain constant and transport subsidies rise 11.7%. Expenditure on personnel, despite the freeze stipulated by Massa, grew by 9.1%, according to data from the OPC.

“The dynamics between income and primary expenses showed a primary deficit of $1,733,787 million, 21.9% higher in real terms compared to the accumulated figure as of October 2021. Adding the payment of interest on the debt, the financial deficit reached to $2,698,430 million, which implied a growth of 9.7% year on year. Meanwhile, the economic result was negative in $1,804,466 million”, indicated the technicians of the Congress. These are the numbers that the IMF looks at.

Argentina is a loop endless. In May 2019, in the midst of the exchange rate run and before the 2019 presidential election, the government of Mauricio Macri was considering summoning Cristina Kirchner to add her to a consensus of ten basic points for fear of not reaching the end of the year. “As we said, the call does not have to exclude anyone. Cristina Kirchner represents a sector of the electorate and it is important that she is part of it. We will probably do it this week”, said Rogelio Frigerio then. Already Roberto Lavagna and Sergio Massa had refused. So, both the businessmen and the Church wanted to move forward with the Together for Change proposal.

Argentina today faces inflation that will reach 100%, a dramatic drop in demand for the peso, lives without net reserves and with dollars overheating on the way to a presidential election in 2023. Vice President Cristina Kirchner yesterday demanded a democratic agreement and consensus economic. Fear of not arriving? It would be a novelty for Peronism. “He blames us for having participated in an assassination, he attacks the Justice and the institutions and then simulates the request for a consensus. There is no chance of any deal with people who do not respect the division of powers”, they said close to Mauricio Macri. Sources close to Horacio Rodríguez Larreta did not respond

Patricia Bullrich was even more direct than Macri himself in criticizing the so-called official party, which includes the camper Wado De Pedro: “The call for a democratic agreement requires democratic actors. Cristina does an acting. She calls for an agreement and immediately decides to attack all the actors: the Justice, the opposition, and she separates herself from her own government. Your first act of hers of a democratic agreement of hers should be to recognize herself as vice president of this government!”

Contrary to the idea of ​​consensus, Macri spoke of the probable “collapse” of populism. It remains to be seen whether this scenario will drag the economy towards a crisis worse than the current one and more Argentines into poverty. “Argentina has no future if it does not undergo a profound change,” said Macri, after Cristina pointed out in her act in La Plata that she herself was the change. Novelty: repetitions that skip ideologies. He then got on a plane headed for Qatar. It is not new in Argentina: the World Cup starts and the problems are lost for a month. Kelly Olmos already made it very clear. “Then we continue working with inflation, but first let Argentina win,” he closed by recalling the 1978 World Cup.

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