Argentina’s Milei Will Review Cabinet, Lower Taxes If His Omnibus Reform Bill Is Signed Into Law

The bill passed the Argentinian Senate this week and was bumped to the lower house for a final review.

AP/Jose Luis Magana
Argentina's president, Javier Milei, speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference, at the National Harbor February 24, 2024. AP/Jose Luis Magana

President Milei will take a number of actions should his “omnibus” reform bill gain final approval from the lower house of Congress in Argentina, including putting his entire cabinet under review.

Mr. Milei was planning on ousting his Cabinet chief of staff, Nicolas Posse, Argentine newspaper La Nación reports, but Mr. Milei said that the rest of his cabinet would come under review as well. 

“The bill could end well or could not come out,” the president said in an interview with TV station LN+. “We will then have to evaluate the results. The entire cabinet will be put under analysis — not just Posse — all of the ministers.”

The bill passed the Argentinian Senate this week and was bumped to the lower house for a final review, with its contents promising to help kickstart Mr. Milei’s chainsaw agenda in terms of concrete legislation. The bill will be the first law Mr. Milei has instituted since he took office. 

If the lower house approves the bill, Mr. Milei’s government will also lower the local PAIS tax, which is levied on purchases made in foreign countries, and is also applied when Argentine pesos are exchanged for dollars at a bank. The president will also appoint his economic adviser, Federico Sturtzenegger, as a minister.

This weekend, Mr. Milei will also meet with the president of the International Monetary Fund, who approved the latest review of Argentina’s $44 billion economic reform program, which means Argentina will receive another $800 million to help the country refinance the debt it has owed to the fund from Alberto Fernández’s presidency.

Mr. Milei’s omnibus reforms and non-interventionist policies are “set to attract multimillion-dollar investments to Argentina, ease its rigid labor laws and enable the privatization of multiple state-run ventures,” Bloomberg News reported.

Mr. Sturtznegger told SwissInfo that Mr. Milei “has decided to tackle the budget deficit, which is the heart of the problem. The old government had to distribute money through the central bank to cover the tax deficit. This led to inflation.”

Speaking at a conference sponsored by the Cato Institute and Libertad y Progreso in Buenos Aires this week, Mr. Milei delivered, in effect, an economics lecture, reiterating his free market policy agenda and quantitative achievements of his presidency so far, including reducing inflation to 4.2 percent compared to 8.8 percent in April. 

“I might be president, but that doesn’t mean I stop being an economist,” he said, adding that “the fruits of Argentina’s brainwashing over the past century with socialist politics” are obvious, and the primary reason for Argentina’s decline over the past century. 

Mr. Milei was elected into office by a landslide, surpassing his opponents by at least 11 electoral points in nearly all districts. The self-proclaimed anarcho-capitalist built his platform upon the ideas of classical liberalism and the ambitious promises of shrinking the size of government, reducing public spending and taxes, dollarizing Argentina, and shutting down the central bank.

The approval of the omnibus bill will be the next step in his agenda to deregulate the economy and shrink the size of government.

Speaking of his political contemporaries who support interventionism, Mr. Milei added, “They believe that they must control the prices, manage the dynamic of this price and control the other. My friends, I am a liberal libertarian, I’m not going to do such things. I believe in liberty. I don’t believe, say, that politicians are gods.”

The libertarian president’s initial “shock therapy” policies coincided with Argentina’s first budget surplus in nearly 12 years, something which America has not done in nearly two decades. 

The chief executive of Tesla, Elon Musk, said that the ideas of non-interventionism and free markets discussed at the conference could hold the key to human prosperity and a better future for all people.

“Each law and regulation is not crippling in and of itself, but they are all like a million little strings that tie Guilliver down,” he said at the conference. “In the West I think we have created a regulatory gridlock, where almost everything is illegal.”

The electric car mogul argued “that’s why they can’t build a high speed rail in California. They spent $7 billion and a 1,600 foot section is what they have to show for it, and it doesn’t even have rails on it.”

Mr. Musk has not been shy about his opinions on the role of government in everyday politics. Earlier this year, a Brazilian supreme court justice, Alexandre de Moraes, included the billionaire in his investigation concerning “internet malice” after Mr. Musk criticized Judge Moraes for censoring various X accounts in Brazil.

“This judge has applied massive fines, threatened to arrest our employees and cut off access to X in Brazil,” Mr. Musk said. “As a result, we will probably lose all revenue in Brazil and have to shut down our office there. But principles matter more than profit.”

The New York Sun

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