Home | Columns, Commentary and News | Reports | Links | About/Contact

Feature 091018 Pazos

Monday, September 10, 2018

The Negative Balance Mexico's Lame Duck President is Leaving

By Luis Pazos

There was neither applause nor cheers for the sixth and final state of the union report of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto (EPN), which went unnoticed by most Mexicans, who had already judged him, in advance, due to the shameful defeat of his party in past elections.  As well, they have a negative perception of his performance, in spite of him being the president who, in the recent history of Mexico, has spent the most money on his image.

EPN opened PEMEX to private investment, a positive, but mismanagement and corruption during the first three years of his rule led that company into bankruptcy. He leaves it as the most indebted in the world with respect to its capacity to pay, and without resources to meet its labor liabilities.

He inherited an education reform that took power away from teachers' unions, who had kidnapped basic education. That positive reform helped to better education for children, but it will probably be revoked by the next president – with power being returned to the corrupt unions.

EPN had the opportunity, with proceeds from the tax increases, to balance public finances, but he did not stop spending. His government is now ending in debt and with fiscal imbalances greater than those he received.

He allowed looting by PRI governors who helped with lots of money for his campaign, and in payment for that support they acted as if they had presidential consent to steal with impunity in their states. As well, it is presumed he received resources for his campaign from PEMEX contractors, through a close collaborator, thereafter director of PEMEX, who, like the governors, felt entitled to loot the oil company with impunity for having brought resources to the now president's campaign.

In my book EPN: El Retroceso, I show with "measurable numbers," as requested by the president in his report, that he inherited a country with more inflation, more debt, more poor, lower real wages, fewer better-paid jobs and a major devaluation of the peso, then did previous governments.

(Yet) his failures, wasteful spending and the corruption in his government are clear, (and) if we want the incoming president to mend the errors, insofar as if they are covered up and then forgotten they may not be corrected until they are up to their necks in problems. Then they will cry out that these are consequences of the previous government, but by then it will be far more difficult and costlier to straighten out inherited imbalances.


Edited translation by


Luis Pazos (e-mail:, who heads the Free Enterprise Research Center (CISLE) in Mexico City, holds a master's degree in Public Finance and a doctorate in Law from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).  A prolific writer and forethoughtful analyst, Dr. Pazos' commentaries on Mexican economics, finance and politics have appeared in newspapers and magazines throughout the Americas.  As well, he is the author of numerous books, many available from online booksellers.

Share/Save/Bookmark Tell a Friend New Page 1