Once again there is a proposal to lower the age of criminal responsibility in order to fight crime. It is extremely positive that the political agenda is focused on issues that concern the citizens. But the proposal ignores the most important cause that makes adolescents become offenders, which is early school dropout. Therefore, the most effective way to prevent juvenile delinquency is not toughening the criminal justice system, but correcting the severe management problems suffered by the educational system and the Universal Child Allowance.
The central government has decided to send the national gendarmerie to help with the Buenos Aires metropolitan area security crisis. It is an opportunistic measure which leads to neglect the objectives of this semi-militar force, as well as overlapping functions with the local police. A genuine way to truly improve the security of all the citizens (not only the people of Buenos Aires) is to stop public overspending in subsidies and to transfer those funds to the provincial governments for them to improve the local police.
The government has established a decrease in the income tax for a group of workers compensating the revenue loss by increasing other taxes. The design of the tax change is technically poor. On one hand, it temporarily reduces tax pressure only on some wages, as sustained inflation will raise it again. On the other hand, it intends to create new taxes that will leave Argentina out of place in the regional competition for new investments. The most troubling issue is that neither the ruling party nor the opposition is showing signs of thinking innovative ideas.
International comparisons are an effective tool for analyzing and improving public policy. So the government’s proposal to compare Argentina with developed countries with similar endowments is very positive. Instead of questioning this practice, it would be favorable to enrich the debate providing seriousness and professionalism to the comparison and extending it to other important issues such as educational indicators.
Elections in Argentina showed the ruling party and the opposition having unsubstantial disputes. There is yet no awareness about the severity of the accumulated problems and the costs of carrying on with bad policies. No proposal emerges to overcome this critical situation. Thus, analogies between the oil crisis in Mexico and Argentina offer a very sobering testimony of the difficulties both countries face and the political difficulties that surge in trying to reverse the consequences of demagoguery and voluntarism.