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.
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.
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.
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 MexiData.info
Luis Pazos (e-mail: email@example.com), 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.