28 May 2008

Gente bien, or, crazy Argentina, take 3

Today's annoying news. In Rosario/12, some member of a palaeo-leftist Kirchnerist movement (what do you call that, a reverse useful idiot?) writes that the May 25 meeting in Rosario was "the birth of a new political coalition for the upper class",¹ who "without any inhibitions paraded their luxury and waste" around the city, and whose real goal (now acknowledged) is "to change Argentina's [political] model."²

¹ He actually wrote gente bien — it's untranslatable, but it has elements of the traditional "decent hard-working people" plus enough money to stay comfortably at the top of the middle-class, or above.

² Here it was modelo de país, that is, the way the country conceives itself and is structured politically and socio-economically. The Kirchnerist model's goal claims to be accumulation and redistribution of wealth — though so far we've mostly seen the former.

Well duh! Yes, we do want a regime change. It doesn't have to come from elections — the president herself could lead it if she took real power away from her husband and his gang. Only she doesn't want to.

And no, you stupid sheep, we weren't all gente bien over there at the Flag Memorial. For one I'm clinging to the bottom of the middle class, and I was there by my own will (unless the tens of thousands that the Peronist Party had to round up and ship to Salta to fill the space around Cristina).

True, most people in the meeting in Rosario were gente bien. But it would take so little effort to please them, it's impossible to understand why your government is so eager to piss them off. It's the poor who have the most problems — maybe you should be asking your beloved president where all that wealth she wants to redistribute is right now, since the Argentine poor are as poor as they were ten years ago, and it's not the gente bien who's using taxpayers' money for "luxury and waste" such as, I don't know, a four-billion-dollar bullet train!


  1. Anonymous23:18

    That was excellently written. I have but one question. You state that you are CLINGING to the bottom of the middle class but fail to realize that the so called gente bien are the ones that are making you cling and not enjoy being a part of the middle class.

    The government is not right. But that does not mean that the farmers are right. They are happy to watch the poor people starve while they get richer.

    Possibly the worst part is, the people that are clinging to the bottom of middle class are willing to take their chances.

  2. Anonymous12:00

    Hey there Rosariño,
    Just a notice to say that I came across your site (after seeing it on Good Airs) and linked to it on my own. (I've always loved Rosario.) Anyway, best wishes from BA. Taos Turner

  3. Anonymous12:15

    Your slang dictionary is great! I'm going to link to that too. Very good stuff. Taos

  4. Hey Jeff,

    I have my reservations about the farmers, and I also know that the upper and middle class are not, and have never been, really worried about the poor -- they're worried about what the poor might do to them if they become desperate. So I'm not defending their stance in that sense. What I say is, they're right to oppose the government on this matter, and to demand that decisions are taken using different methods.

    I've never subscribed gladly to the idea that the rich are automatically to blame for the poor's lot. I think it's much more complicated than that.

  5. Anonymous22:20

    Hey Pablo,

    Its not that I feel that the rich people are to blame for the poor being poor. I do feel, however, that we need to start social trends towards helping them and that the wealth really needs to be redistributed.

    Rich people, truly rich ones, are currently forcing more and more of us middle class folk onto a tight rope where one loss of balance may have us landing among the poor. Food prices are going through the roof for no good reason. There is an abundance of food in Argentina, and imagine that more and more people cannot afford it!

    Is the tax the way to do it? Probably not, but it should help. It would be better to make mandatory national quotas before anything can be exported, but unfortunately there is too little infrastructure to monitor such a program in Argentina. One of the few things that is accurate here is to count the quantities at the exit points because there are so few.

    I am not supporting the governments tactics, but cannot honestly believe that this increase is going to affect the farmers much. They still are earning the same they made last year and they are in no danger of losing their house. Global rates continue to rise, and with that, the farmers will only want to export more and more to make more money, it is logical but must be limited in some way.

    Perhaps a smarter government could be better, but Argentina is famous for electing poor officials to replace poor officials. The one bright light in was the economic minister... And now he is looking for work....

  6. Jeff,

    You're right to point out that for many farmers the new taxes wouldn't affect them much. However, something must be happening, or else people wouldn't be complaining so much.

    The crux of the matter is whether we as a nation will arrive to a consensus as to whether, and how, we should redistribute wealth, or will tolerate the government telling us how to do it, and telling each sector of the economy how much it deserves to earn. We already know the Kirchners aren't fit for that noble task.

    The export taxes are easy to implement, and I support them, but by now the government should've figured a way to shift the pressure towards a progressive income tax that can be collected efficiently. The income tax is a real tax and what the national state collects must be redistributed to the provincial states as per law. The retenciones aren't actually taxes, so the national government can keep them all to themselves and (thanks to a nullified Congress) do whatever they can with them.


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