Argentina Undergoing Shock Therapy As Everyone Agrees New President Is ‘Crazy’.

Image: Getty. Argentina's new minority party president is planning a course of shock treatment for the Argentine economy.
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Friends and foes of Argentina’s new president both agree on one thing–that he is crazy.

“Most people call him that. I think it’s good,” says 21-year-old Axel Uhrig of Javier Milei, who won the presidential election with 56% of the vote in November.

Axel is part of Pibes Libertarios (libertarian lads) – a self-described “militant” group whose battleground is social media.

They stick posters around Buenos Aires at night with QR codes linking to videos in support of President Milei’s policies.

The new president is trying to get a package of reforms approved to shrink the state, but is struggling to get it through Congress, where he does not have a majority.

Mr Milei may have won the election, but the Pibes Libertarios still feel they are fighting a battle for his sweeping reforms to privatise companies and cut regulations to be made into law.

The new president is trying to get a package of reforms approved to shrink the state, but is struggling to get it through Congress, where he does not have a majority.

Mr Milei may have won the election, but the Pibes Libertarios still feel they are fighting a battle for his sweeping reforms to privatise companies and cut regulations to be made into law.

After a series of Argentine governments introduced widespread nationalisation, welfare benefits, subsidised prices, and powerful labour laws and unions, Axel feels Mr Milei gave those on the right an “identity” – a libertarian identity.

He is keen to stress this is different from “liberals” in the West who are “progressive” and instead captures those who support “freedom from the state”.

Axel is glad that the president was “crazy enough” to defy the status quo with a different approach to the economy.

He adds he “saw no future in this place” before Mr Milei was elected and says his two best friends left Argentina seeking a better life in the US and Spain – a trend that is widely commented on here.

Mr Milei’s radically different approach to the economy is why a lot of people voted for him in a country where for many steep inflation feels like the norm.

President Milei blames the country’s skyrocketing inflation on years of high government spending, high debt, and money-printing to service it.

He argues “shock” measures are needed to tackle it.

 

He has already slashed the value of the currency, public spending and subsidies for transport, fuel and energy.

These measures have in turn driven up prices.

New figures published this week showed annual inflation in Argentina had hit more than 250%, making it the highest rate in the world.

The monthly figure jumped to 25.5% in December after he came to power, though has since fallen to 20.6%.

Mr Milei told the television station La Nación + the figure was “horrifying” but “you have to look at where we were.”

Many Argentines relish what they perceive as his honesty, saying they are willing to put up with more pain if it improves the economy in the long term.

Source: BBC News.
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