pork barrel

The budget is the most important law approved by parliament. It is that the budget is a mirror of the priorities of the government and its institutions. What is spent and what is not spent. The federal government will spend more than seven trillion pesos in 2021.

AMLO celebrated the approval and said he was pleased that the vote in Congress had split. Let’s remember: 273 votes in favor and 214 against. The president pressed his absolute majority and the opposition – one bloc – voted against. In short, Morena + PT + Verde, in favor of; PAN + PRI + MC + PRD, vs. Is it a split ballot procedure? Should we be concerned about polarization and the lack of agreements between the ruling party and the opposition? No, let me explain. Budget negotiations in Mexico, particularly in the years of democracy – 1997 to 2018 – were characterized by corruption. The government submitted a spending proposal. Representatives argued about it and pretended to disagree, but what really matters is the size of what American political scientists call a pork barrel. What is that? Simple: the wool that the government must buy the wills of parliamentarians and political leaders. One MP negotiated a highway for his municipality, but the marketing was that they asked mayors for moches or recommended builders. Or the rulers who subordinated the votes of their representatives to the wool they could get from the negotiations. In this period of political rotation, the volume of a boar barrel ranged between 250 and 300 billion pesos.

In fact, the representatives never defended the interests of their own societies, but private companies. AMLO is right: what you’re going to give me has done a lot of damage to the annual budget definition. Why during some years of Fuchsmism, Calderonism and all Alpineismo, was the budget approved with percentages of room in excess of 90%? With debts or taking more Pemex, they’ve expanded the blanket so that governors, union leaders, mayors or MPs are happy. Usually, the budget divides political opponents. In the United States, Republicans do not budget for Joe Biden; In France, Macron has no lepenistas or gauche; In the UK, the budget is approved only by Conservative votes, and in Spain, the Socialists never rely on popular figures to approve spending. The unnatural thing is what happened in Mexico: a very political opponent, but in the end they agreed to the budget.

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Be careful, the above does not mean that you consider the approved budget a good spending project. On the contrary, I think it’s bad budgets. high investments in refineries in the midst of a climate crisis; There is no effort to improve health services; In the field of security we are far from spending the right amount; In the fight against corruption, nothing, only speeches; More wool for the army, but a frozen budget for the police; Lots of talk against poverty, but social spending remains low. Lots of rhetorical publicity, but nothing to back up the characters. How good it is that ham barrels and moches are disappearing to negotiate public spending. It is the source of much corruption. This does not mean that it is a budget of whims, centralization, outdated, institutional weakening and reactionary.

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