Mexico's New Deal a Bad Idea, Presidential Candidate López Obrador Shuns Comparison With Chavez Mexican presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador's "economics team has developed a blueprint for what they call the 'Mexican New Deal.' Their modern version of Depression-era populism is an ambitious program to create millions of jobs and stem migration by undertaking huge public works projects, including a railroad network, vast housing developments, ports and timber replanting."(1) His main opponent, Felipe Calderón "and other critics say [López] Obrador's promised social programs would push Mexico into an economic crisis, and in a series of attack ads, compared him to Venezuelan President Hugo [Chávez], an authoritarian socialist. But [López] Obrador says the comparison is ridiculous." [emphasis added](2)
I tend to agree with Calderón. Governments do not create anything. They are parasitic by nature. The more government programs there are, the higher the taxes need to be to fund such programs. Higher taxes hurt the People. A better plan would be to enact laws to make corrupt practices by government officials a felony punishable by significant prison time, and laws protecting the right of the People to be free from exploitive working conditions. Also, they should end all business subsidies, and raise tariffs on foreign imports to compensate (subsidies and import duties have the same operative effect, but the latter does not put the burden on a country's People).
I am in favor of a strong Mexico. One that can compete economically with the United States. This would actually reverse the illegal immigration trend, I think. It would also benefit the United States in that we would be encouraged to work harder and be more innovative in order to compete. However, socialism is not the way to accomplish a Mexican economic rise.
Take note of López Obrador's reaction to being compared to Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. It will be interesting to note if he actually becomes a close ally of Venezuela after he is elected. If he does, it would be proof of his disingenuousness. By his own statement, he is so different from Hugo Chavez that any comparison would be laughable. Presumably, he would not make such a statement if he approved of Hugo Chávez (or if he thought the Mexican voters approved). I wonder if we can assume from this statement that he will not, as Chávez did, stage a military coup, nationalize private industry, support leftist rebels in other countries, claim territories in other countries, or cozy up to Fidel Castro?(3) I would think that, making such a statement, we could reasonably assume that he does not approve of such things and would not do them himself. However, it is a statement made during a political campaign. I just want to draw people's attention to this statement, in case he should significantly contradict it in the future.
(1) Roig-Franzia, Manuel. "Using FDR as Model, Presidential Hopeful Out to Build New Deal for Mexico," The Washington Post 2006 June 23, Page A18, para. 2, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/22/AR2006062201550.html
(2) Stevenson, Mark. "Mexico hopeful takes hard line vs. NAFTA" (AP), Business Week, 2006 June 17, para. 13, http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D8IAAL3G1.htm?sub=apn_news_down&chan=db.
(3) BBC Staff Writers. "Profile: Hugo Chavez," BBC News, World, Americas, 2002 December 05, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/1925236.stm.
Special thanks to the Gun Toting Liberal for drawing my attention to the Washington Post story.
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