In the 20 reforms launched by the president, 18 of them of a constitutional nature, there is everything. His opponents will describe some as demagogic, impractical and opportunistic in the face of the next elections; others will be interpreted as political revenge; some more as an attempt to reinstall a State authoritarianism typical of the last century.
But we should not allow political polarization and ideological trench warfare to prevent us from perceiving the significance that half of them do have. Together, they give substance and complement the proposal for a change in favor of the economically depressed majorities and point to the search for a less unequal country. When evaluating them, we would have to make sure not to throw the baby out with the dirty water in the bathtub, as the classics said. In the package of reforms there are some that would deserve a general consensus of all progressive sectors or those concerned about the moral infamy that poverty and lack of opportunities represent in Mexico. In that sense, they complete the formulation of the country’s vision of a movement that proposes a change that benefits the majorities.
But it is also true that, in this political testament of López Obrador, some appear that respond to his very particular way of interpreting Mexican society, a product of his career and origin. Some, the least successful, are proposals that do not contribute to the attempt to modernize and pluralize political and social life. The empowerment of the army and the unilateral strengthening of presidential power do not necessarily represent the banners of sectors concerned with justice and inequality. At times it would seem that the design of the State proposed by López Obrador is based on the principle that the presidency will always be occupied by a political force inclined to just and progressive causes. Surprising in someone who knows history as well as he does. Impossible to know who will govern in 20 years and who will be the opposition; For the same reason, it would be necessary to avoid a reification of power, once and for all, around the sovereign. It could be a design that our children regret in the face of bad rulers.
Here is a preliminary review.
Good reforms aimed at the formal sector. An increase in the minimum wage above inflation would be more than desirable. The lag is such that it will take decades before this becomes a problem. And, when a stable situation is reached, nothing prevents increases equivalent to inflation from being made to maintain the purchasing power of those who earn less.
Provide housing for workers, through houses rented by Infonavit that can be purchased after 10 years of rent. An adequate landing would have to be designed, but it covers a fundamental aspiration that allows us to escape absolute misery.
Minimum salary for public education, security, defense, and health workers equivalent to the average salary of those enrolled in the IMSS (17 thousand current pesos). It would be an appropriate measure; These are key public servants for the rest of society. A reasonable minimum wage does not automatically translate into a better professional level or eradicate corruption, but it is a first step and a sine qua non.
Retirement with 100% of salary. The pension regime imposed in 1997 constitutes an infamy for millions of workers condemned to live their last years amid hardship. But solving it requires extraordinary financial engineering and successive approximations. So far the scheme proposed by López Obrador is too vague. Urgent objective, although subject to better developments.
All these measures are laudable, but we must not lose sight of the fact that they could be regressive in nature, unfavorable to the poorest. Half of the population works in the informal sector. All of these Mexicans would not receive the benefits related to the minimum wage, pension, and housing. If the State takes on the brutal burden of meeting such objectives in favor of the formal sector, the lack of resources will obscure the even more pressing task of alleviating the situation of the helpless millions. It is not about ignoring the goodness of these measures, but about avoiding the risk of violating the possibility of helping those who need it most.
Good universal reforms. Free health for all. This is an ambitious and probably long-term objective, but essential to avoid one of the greatest scourges of poverty. Obama tried it and a good part of the countries of Northern Europe do it; even more so in Mexico, even though it is a long road. In the same sense, the reform could be framed to support young people in their first year of work or farmers.
Those of a symbolic nature. There are initiatives that do no harm if they are included in the Constitution, since they should be part of the duties of the rulers. The rights of indigenous people, the protection of animals, the care of water. In an intermediate case, there would be some related to prohibiting vapers, the fracking or transgenics. It might be better to make it a matter of public policies and not constitutional decrees, because the international context and technological evolution could qualify the reservations that they cause today.
Worrying reforms. There is much to improve in terms of judicial power, decentralized organizations and their excesses. But reducing spaces to favor the president’s sphere and expanding the powers of the dominant political force, whatever it may be, has obvious risks.
Yes, the structure of the legislative branch is excessive, but a congress with only the winners of the 300 districts eliminates minorities. To illustrate an extreme case: if a party wins with 40% of the votes in each district, and two other parties obtain 30% each, the one that won will have 100% of the seats, even though 60% of the voters did not vote for them.
Yes, the election of ministers is inadequate; but corruption is not going to be resolved by the popular vote (if it were, the deputies would be a paragon of virtues). The risk is that more photogenic, demagogic ministers or with more money to finance campaigns will be elected.
Yes, popular consultations can be an instrument for citizen participation. But reducing the proportion of voters to oust a president or impose a law to 30% can turn us into fodder for mobilized minorities.
In all these cases, the president’s proposals point to areas that are performing poorly. But disappearing them or bringing them to the executive level is not necessarily the best solution.
It seems to me that beyond the outcome in the Congressional debates, which will be dominated by the political pettiness of all parties, the heirs of the movement, led by Claudia Sheinbaum, have an enormous job ahead of them to adjust, eliminate and complete this entire package. to make it viable, financeable, progressive and democratic. It will involve collecting the opportune ones, reviewing the inopportune ones and forgetting about the opportunistic ones.
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