06 December 2007
I'm not into sentimentalism. A shocking image of a poor child, in a half-serious personal blog, I'd call in very bad taste, usually. But here's the thing: this child's image is not shocking to us anymore. That's the real tragedy. We've grown accustomed to poverty, monstrously revisiting the callousness that former president Carlos Menem showed, quoting from Scripture: "The poor will always be with you", when told that poverty, amid the economic exhuberance of the first part of his administration, was as bad as always. We no longer see the poor child, because both our government and ourselves are playing the same game of ignoring the darker parts of reality.
The 2008 budget was just passed, and true to its Kirchnerist fatherhood, it's a masterpiece of doublethink. GDP growth is estimated as 4%, which is so low compared to the Chinese-like rates of the last years that Argentina would actually have to enter a deep recession next year to not surpass it by sheer inertia. Inflation, well... nobody cares about the officially estimated rate anyway, as everybody rightly assumes it'll have nothing to do with reality.
The government has been boasting the high GDP figures since its steep upwards trend began, but bizarrely enough it also seems to claim that the economy's on the brink of collapse. K even tried to get an extension of the Economic Emergency Law, that he's been using to manage our money in a lot of creative ways since he took office, but so far the Senate hasn't approved of it (though it may already have by the time you read this).
"So we're doing brightly and want everybody to know this and vote for us and thank us immensely... but we're drawing up a comparatively conservative budget... because we're in an emergency... even though we're almost back to normal... but any problems we may have are not because we're in an emergency, which we aren't, but because we came out of it so fast that we got dizzy."
Among all this mess, of course, the poor continue to be poor, the rich continue to be rich, and (seemingly) all's right with the world. So the picture that begins this post is just a reminder, to you and to myself, that something's profoundly wrong, and we're passing by, oblivious to it.