Tuesday, August 21, 2012

With Argentina reeling from economic downturn, the government is recruiting migrant workers and kids to stay in power

If you govern a nation experiencing a rapid decline in foreign currency deposits, falling consumer confidence, runaway inflation, insurmountable trade issues, zero growth, and multiple other problems, how do you stay in power? If you are Iran, you recruit an army of violent thugs to keep the government in power. If you are Argentina, you throw money at migrant workers and teenagers and then allow them vote.
The Washington Post: - Argentina is rethinking what it means to be a citizen, proposing radical changes that would have both foreigners and 16-year-olds vote to determine who should run the country.

President Cristina Fernandez’s legislative powerbrokers say the proposed electoral laws will enhance democracy and challenge the world to treat voting as a universal human right. Opponents call it a naked attempt to prolong the power of a decade-old government that has showered public money on migrants and young people.
... 
While welcoming immigrants into polling stations would add 1 million voters, lowering the voting age from 18 to 16 would add 2 million more.
Argentina's current government is looking to strengthen its political support at the time when the nation is in fact undergoing all the problems listed above. Here are the facts:

1. Dollar deposits are now down 30% since May.

2. Consumer confidence is declining.

Argentina consumer confidence index

3. Inflation is around 24% (unofficial figure).

4. Argentina's trade disputes are escalating.
Reuters: - The United States and Japan launched complaints against Argentina at the World Trade Organization (WTO) on Tuesday, alleging that its import licensing rules discriminate against foreign goods. 
This follows a similar complaint at the WTO from the EU brought in May.

5. And not surprisingly growth remains a problem.

Source: GS

With the support of foreign migrant workers and 16-year-old children, Cristina Fernandez’s government will have an edge. Of course that's not going to be enough, because in 2015 the presidential term limits will be coming up. But no worries, the constitution can always be "adjusted":
MercoPress: - Several groups allied to Argentine president Cristina Fernandez are actively promoting a constitutional review that would allow re-election for a third consecutive four year mandate [what some call "re-re-election"].
In these times of tremendous economic uncertainty in Argentina, one thing will remain certain: Cristina Fernandez’s government will be in charge for a long time to come. And their policies that brought the nation into its current state will continue unabated.


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