Remember when Argentina was officially the World’s Biggest Fiscal Basketcase?
Remember when, in the 1990s and early ’00s, its being reduced to penury was big news (though the reason therefor — namely, its trying to follow the IMF ‘austerity’ aka kill-the-poor plan — was soft-pedaled when it was mentioned at all by the mainstream US press)?
Haven’t heard much about it lately on the nightly TV or radio drive-time news, have you?
That’s because it showed that standing up to the IMF (and for the masses) is not only survivable, but essential — and politically popular. A lesson that was reinforced yet again recently:
BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Center-left Argentine President Cristina Fernandez looks set to win a second term in October and deepen her interventionist policies after thrashing rivals in a primary election, results showed on Monday.
With almost all of the votes counted, Fernandez had just over 50 percent support — 38 percentage points ahead of her closest contenders, centrist congressman Ricardo Alfonsin and former President Eduardo Duhalde.
Sunday’s primary vote was effectively a nationwide opinion poll because the parties had already chosen their candidates and voters could cast ballots for any of them.
Fernandez has rankled Wall Street by imposing price controls, nationalizing private pension funds and publishing inflation data far below private estimates.
But Argentine voters put her on track for a first-round triumph on October 23, when she will need just over 45 percent support to win outright.
What’s not mentioned is that the “nationalized” pensions had been privatized in the 1990s at the behest of the IMF — a move that not only increased the debt and beggared pensioners, but kicked the Argentine economy over into full-blown depression. But of course neoliberalism and austerity can never fail, according to our ruling elites; it can only be failed.