Sunday, June 23, 2024

ARGENTINA | 03-08-2023 15:45

'A complete reform of the State': Javier Milei presents plan for government

Libertarian presidential hopeful outlines ideas for privatisation of healthcare, education and public works projects. Milei intends to slash government portfolios, unifying ministries while eliminating the Central Bank.

In the final countdown to the PASO primaries, La Libertad Avanza presidential hopeful for La Javier Milei is presenting his plan for government. 

“We’re the only political force with a specific plan to end inflation, unemployment, health problems, education, food, housing and all the debts Argentine democracy owes the Argentines,” he declared boldly this week.

The libertarian lawmaker’s programme includes a “complete reform of the State,” including the elimination of government ministries, Cabinet positions and the dismissal of any public official hired in 2023. 

In addition, as he has declared in multiple interviews, Milei plans to close down or privatise state-run companies and bodies that he claims are “used as a haven for people collecting a paycheque without doing actual work.”

He cited as examples both the National Institute of Cinema and Audiovisual Arts (INCAA, in its Spanish acronym) and the National Institute Against Discrimination, Xenophobia and Racism (INADI). 

Milei called on voters to back him. “We need your support for that,” said the liberal economist. 

“If we continue to vote for the same people, we’ll get the same results. The only possible destiny with them is to become the biggest slum in the world,” the libertarian leader warned.


Economic and judicial aims

La Libertad Avanza proposes a series of reforms which include an immediate and drastic reduction in government expenditure. If Milei won the presidential ballot, he would seek to cut spending by 15 percent of GDP and slash taxes.

Milei also proposes a “labour modernisatión” model “with an unemployment insurance scheme with a greater financial depth.” He would “open unilateral trade like Chile,” since according to the economist “free trade produces goods with a better quality or better price.” 

Most controversially, La Libertad Avanza plans sweeping monetary reform including “the elimination of the Central Bank, in order to end inflation forever.” They would also introduce energy reform ending subsidies for users. There would be widespread promotion of investment “focused on mining, hydrocarbons, renewable and forestry energies,” for which they would eliminate export duties; and an agricultural reform package to become the “world’s granary.”

As Milei outlined in a livestream broadcast on Instagram, judicial reform would see the creation of a new national ministry that would be “respected by the Judiciary” and the appointment of a new Supreme Court Justice “without any party affiliation and who staunchly defends the 1853 Constitution,” and an attorney general “in the form of a prosecutor with no party affiliation.”

On this point, he also assured that he would “promote the absolute independence of the Judiciary” and “institute trial by jury throughout the country.” Judges would have to be free of “any affiliation or party,” he added.


‘Ministry of Human capital’

A key focus of Milei’s plan for government is the merging of the Health, Social Development, Labour and Education portfolios into a single “Ministry of Human Capital.”

The move, which the presidential hopeful says would heavily cut costs, would be accompanied by the planned elimination of social plans. 

“We want to make one thing very clear: Argentines depending on state aid to survive are the victims of the system, not the victimisers, therefore, we won’t make any decisions transferring the austerity cost that needs to happen to them,” he warned.

“Until Argentina has not adopted the economic model of freedom that enables the creation of wealth, jobs and welfare, the elimination of social aid is a crime,” the liberal project states. 

Regarding the privatisation of healthcare and education services, Milei said it would be “the best possible system is one where every Argentine pays for his services.” The issue is not debatable, he declared.

For education, Milei intends to introduce a voucher-lead scheme to allow for “greater degrees of freedom for the choice of content, method and educators.”

In order to solve both issues, the party proposes “programmes to mitigate extreme poverty, nutrition plans, educational programmes for parents on cognitive stimulation, greater coverage of pre-school education, incentives for students, policies to integrated disable people, promoting access to private credit and eliminating all the middlemen of social programmes, thus providing direct assistance through systems like the SUBE card.” 

For healthcare, Milei intends “to free people from the captivity of being affiliated to health insurance such as PAMI; for them to choose freely, thus establishing free competition between all these financing entities.”


Security reform

According to the 52-year-old economist, Argentina’s security forces have “lost their essential function: repressing crime.” Echoing the discourse of hard-line Juntos por el Cambio presidential hopeful, Patricia Bullrich, Milei said “there must be no half measures here – the function of the security forces and the State itself is to repress crime to protect the life, liberty and property of individuals.”

The presidential hopeful said he would modify laws on domestic security, national defence and intelligence to prioritise the fight against drug dealing. He would allow public-private institutions to oversee the penitentiary system, “stop land occupation and ensure free movement.”

The role of the Armed Forces “needs to be revalued in their role as essential institutions for the Republic,” after “an accentuated vocational frustration after years of grievances,” reads the proposals drawn up by Milei’s party.

“We propose to create a military instrument that is agile, modern and technologically advanced to replace the current obsolete structures,” it declares. 

Moving onto foreign policy, La Libertad Avanza proposes “the unrestrained defence of all liberal democracies in the world and the promotion of free trade.”

“The era of Argentina partnering with the dictatorships of the world is over,” reads the manifesto. “On day one of our administration we will tell the world that Argentina is ready to once again join the concert of free and democratic nations,” it adds.

In order to achieve this objective, Milei’s party would attempt to “purge from the Argentine Ministry of Foreign Affairs of any staff handpicked by the different administrations to promote career professionals.”

The party will “discourage the use of Embassies as leisure destinations for politicians,” reads the manifesto. 

On infrastructure, the party proposes a “revolution” of public works planning that Milei claims will leads to “an “avalanche of works the private sector needs for its development.” 

“We will encourage the mass development of private works [projects] financed by the private sector through private credit, where every family will decide which works to carry out, where, when and how,” the proposal reads.


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