Is Republican Austerity serious?

On April 26, the Undersecretary for North America of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ,  Jesús Seade , published in social networks that he coincided in a flight with the actor  Diego Luna , with the respective picture. In the photo you can see that they traveled in first class. It is worth asking: how does someone so close to the President and who surely knows the government’s austerity speech, fly in first class and not in tourist class, like the President himself? This draws attention in the context of discussions of the Republican Austerity Law in Congress.

According to the explanatory statement of the bill, “Austerity will allow the eradication of the set of excesses that the political class had  organized and carry out the constitutional principles of economy, rationality, honesty and transparency in the allocation and exercise of public resources.” Among other aspects, the eighth article of the project states that “The purchase of travel tickets in first class service or equivalent is prohibited”. Will there have to be a law that prevents officials from buying tickets to fly first class so they stop doing so? Wouldn’t it be that one would expect that the officials of this government were, from the beginning, committed to the austerity promoted by the President?

However, no law can prevent officials from paying the difference with their money, to upgrade to the flights they make. But, in a government that identifies itself as austere, is it morally acceptable for its officials to do so?

The initiative, presented in Congress, in matters of austerity will affect the middle management of the federal government. According to information published by El Universal, all the deputy-general directorates created after 2001 are intended to disappear, which will undoubtedly be a serious blow not only for the economy of thousands of families, but in the decision-making processes and in the responsibility assumed by the area management levels. Responsibilities that do not compare with the salary they will receive.

On the other hand, it is only the senior officials (general directors, undersecretaries and state secretaries) who will travel comfortably when they have to go to a commission. Middle-rank officials generally end up putting their own money to complete expenses of working trips.

During trips I made while working at the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and of the Interior, it was normal that on each trip, by plane or road, I had to put money from my pocket to pay expenses because travel allowances were no enough. Of course, the highest levels of government have resources from a revolving fund for miscellaneous expenses and which are not subject to verification. That fund, for example, is not affected by the Republican Austerity Law.

Finally, regarding the elimination of drivers and advisors, it is very easy to turn it around, since one thing is the function they have and another the assigned place. That is, they can have positions as liaison officers, but acting as drivers or assistants; the same for advisors, they can have asgined positions as directors or deputy-directors, but act as advisors.

Ricardo Solano Olivera, MSc.


Column originally published at https://laopinion.de/2019/04/30/va-en-serio-la-austeridad-republicana/

Photo by Jp Valery on Unsplash

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