How much has it cost Mexico for Andrés M. López to be president? The question does not refer to his salary, to the imputed income of living in a luxurious viceregal palace compared to the imputed income of having lived in Los Pinos, to the Garnacha and Aguas Frescas bar that constitute the basis of his diet, to the budget for the acquisition of guayaberas, transportation costs, etc. These costs are those that are normally incurred in practically every country in the world and are directly associated with the fact that someone, president or prime minister, exercises ownership of the government.
No, the question has to do with what has been the impact on the well-being of Mexicans that over 40 months (counted from September 2018) he has made a whole set of public policy/economic policy decisions that they have not only had a negative impact on the country’s economic performance in this period but, even worse, will have a profound and negative impact in the years to come, well beyond 2024.
It is not my intention to put a number on the cost of a whole set of erroneous decisions that the president has made in different areas. Since it is impossible to quantify the damage, a brief recount of these decisions and their impact follows, in case you forgot.
a) Cancellation of the airport in Texcoco (and later the brewery). He gave the signal that he does not care about the rule of law nor does he give value to the legal certainty necessary for a market economy to function and investment is encouraged. The result is visible: gross capital formation began to fall after that decision and is now at the same level as a decade ago. Without investment there is no way to grow and GDP per inhabitant in 2024 will be lower than in 2018.
b) Management of the pandemic. Surrounded by a group of incompetent officials in the health sector and more concerned about spending and his popularity, the president downplayed the seriousness. The result: more than 600,000 deaths; To the sentimental cost of losing a family member, we must add the economic cost of the death of individuals who were of productive working age.
c) Abandonment of quality education. The president, as if he lived in the early Middle Ages, does not attach any value to scientific knowledge and, therefore, to quality education. Without the accumulation of high-quality human capital, there is no way to increase total factor productivity in a sustained manner, nor, therefore, to grow at high rates. Without quality education there is no upward social mobility, poverty and inequity in the distribution of wealth are perpetuated.
d) The hubbub of fighting corruption. With the argument of fighting corruption and without having provided any evidence at all, it canceled programs such as Prospera, Seguro Popular, child care and many others, all of them with a clear social benefit; With the same argument, it destroyed the scheme for the acquisition and distribution of medicines and generated a real disaster. The same canceled funds and trusts in education, science and culture; ignorance advanced several squares.
e) The electrical reform. Without the constitutional reform having been approved, only with the decisions that private investment has made in the sector has stopped. Without a reliable and competitive electricity supply, investment in all sectors of economic activity and growth are inhibited.
f) Three meaningless projects. Dos Bocas, Santa Lucía and little train with negative social present value that destroy national wealth.
And so we can continue; decision after decision that instead of contributing to having an increasingly developed country with greater wealth and more equity, has subtracted from it. The cost of destruction has been, and will be, very high.
Economist and professor
Point of view
Knight of the National Order of Merit of the French Republic. Medal of Professional Merit, Ex-ITAM.