Austerity when living in a Palace?

For AMLO, only presidential privileges are valid… The achievements of the SCJN are millionaire wastes and an offense to the people * We Mexicans want to see a well-dressed and even elegant President, but his incongruity, lies and deceit disappoint


President Andrés Manuel López Obrador accused that the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) is against his government and the transformation of the country.

He criticized that along with some journalists and communicators, they are now joined by “the hero girls and boys” of the Court. There is not a day that the federal Executive does not use its very expensive platform to hit the SCJN and journalists. Everyone who is not with me is against me, seems to be his premise.

As soon as he learns of a resolution from the SCJN or a criticism from journalists, he does not have the slightest reluctance to display them from the National Palace. One of his favorite clients is Carlos Loret de Mola, who from LatinUs has publicized journalistic investigations that have exposed corruption scandals close to AMLO, among others: the Gray House of his son José Ramón; the envelopes of money from the brothers Martín and Pio; the 23 houses of Manuel Barttlet; Segalmex master scam for 15 billion pesos and recently the contracts for the friends of another of his sons, Andrés, for the dismantling of the “Texcoco” airport, as well as the trips and the department of the head of the Sedena.

“My thing is not revenge,” proclaims the President and with the display of salaries, the same for ministers of the Supreme Court, that of journalists seems to accuse “there goes the thief.”

He can’t stand that any of his adversaries earn more than him, when everyone knows that lowering his salary was nothing more than an arbitrary populist advertising measure.

According to a document prepared in the Senate, the President of the Republic made public in the Morning the “40 privileges of ministers, magistrates and judges of the Judiciary.” Salaries and benefits that have been achieved over decades and adhered to the law, which are advertised as “privileges.”

Perhaps the President does not deserve to have at his service in the National Palace thousands of soldiers, cooks, assistants, advisors, doctors, nurses and even a tailor who has a daily premiere of suits with the finest cuts.

On their tours convoys with up to 20 armored Suburbans, with hundreds of military and civilian escorts (new Presidential General Staff). Of course, his investiture deserves it, but he cannot recognize that another of the Powers, which in theory is one of his “equals”, deserves to have decent salaries and benefits.

What is not congruent is “seeing the speck in someone else’s eye and not the beam in one’s own”. Talk about “austerity” when he lives like a king in a great Palace surrounded by luxuries.

It is a lie to recommend to the “people”, as he has done in his Mañaneras, not to have material aspirations, to settle for basic clothing and sustenance, to talk about spirituality and simplicity, when now there is not a day that I do not wear a fine cashmere suit for the first time. and branded clothes. And how good, we Mexicans want to see a well-dressed and even elegant President, but his incongruity, lies and deceit disappoint.


La Mañanera from the National Palace became an effective communication strategy for the President, aimed at his electoral clientele. However, Luis Estrada’s SPIN site states that almost 100,000 lies have been told to date.

Although the spokesman for the Presidency, Jesús Ramírez, affirms that the cost of the presidential conferences is minimal, since it is done with the production equipment that already existed, it had already been published in specialist estimates that the cost per second televised on the morning hours on average is 13,000 pesos, if it has an estimated duration of 3 hours, it could have a cost for Mexicans of more than 130 million pesos, but to these calculations add the transmission cost of the main public TV channels: Channel 11, Channel 14, Channel 22.

In addition, expensive ridiculous parodies and mockery of the adversaries are made by the official sycophants at the service of Jenaro Villamil and the 4T.

Channel 11 dedicated its program “Mamut” to ridicule the minister president of the SCJN, Norma Piña, in the person of one of the servants, Jairo Calixto, disguised in the style of “La Jitomata” by the Mascabrothers.
With these facts, the role of the public media has also been distorted, Channel 11 has already lost its tradition of being a cultural and educational channel and has become an “ideological” propaganda tool and homage to AMLO, with the special seal of authoritarian regimes. Even in its promotions, the slogan of being “the IPN channel” is being put aside.

Another great incongruity that is public and clouds the President’s austerity and anti-corruption discourse is the way his children live, they became publicly the example of opulence, opprobrium and excesses.

The Gray House by José Ramón; the “Texcoco” contracts of Andrés Manuel and the superstructure of officials that he has in the 4T government, and Gonzalo Alfonso, whose fondness for baseball is well known.

A photograph in which the President’s son shared the presidential box of the Sultanes stadium in Monterrey with businessmen Alfonso Romo, Carlos Bremer and Carlos Slim went viral.

The question that arises is: First the family or “first the poor”? What moral authority do their children leave to the federal Executive to insist with their austerity discourse? How can you publicly lash out at your adversaries for their wages or property? There can be no rich government with poor people, can there?

For genuine austerity, leading by example is required. Republican austerity for whom? López Obrador sees austerity as a pro-poor and pro-worker measure: according to his logic, the poor are already being protected by social programs and the rest of the population has enough money to get ahead. The President’s interpretation is not only incorrect, but also harmful.

The cost for the poorest will be enormous: AMLO’s social programs do not cover everyone. In Mexico, there are 22 million beneficiaries of these programs and 52 million poor in “crescendo” day after day.

And if we are talking about austerity measures, we could make a count of the billions of pesos from the public treasury that have gone to the trash or to the electoral clientele.

Rubén Moreira, coordinator of the PRI bench in the Chamber of Deputies, denounced a multi-million dollar waste, which could reach up to 270 billion pesos.

He reported that the Budget Stabilization Fund that began this six-year term with approximately 300 billion pesos now has 30 billion pesos, 10% of its initial capital.

The removal of Insabi showed failure in the health sector at enormous cost, both financial and human. Having a healthcare system like Denmark’s will remain another broken promise.

To begin with, the Government of Mexico invests less in health (2.8% of GDP) than all the OECD countries and than our main peer from Latin America.

Only Chile spends 5% of its GDP, double that of Mexico. At the time, the Superior Audit of the Federation (ASF) announced that the cost of canceling the New Mexico International Airport (NAIM) rose to almost 332 billion pesos, equivalent to 231% more than originally estimated. by the federal government.

In relation to the Mayan Train, one of the pharaonic works of this government, PAN deputy Jorge Romero stated that -due to failures in its planning- it could raise its cost to up to 18 billion dollars, practically double what was forecast.

In infrastructure, the Felipe Ángeles International Airport, the Mayan Train, the Dos Bocas refinery and the Welfare banks accounted for 15 pesos of every 100 pesos invested, which is in stark contrast to public health and education services, which receive one and two pesos. of 100 pesos, respectively.

The 4T government invests little in infrastructure. Half of the investment is not allocated to projects that directly strengthen economic and social development, but is directed to projects of state companies: Pemex and CFE take 43.1% and 7.0% of the total physical investment, respectively .

Whether this investment produces benefits is at least questionable; It is enough to remember that Pemex has accumulated losses of up to 100 billion dollars. The CFE spends an average of 70 billion pesos per year on electricity consumption subsidies.

Spending on subsidy programs -that is, social programs for electoral clientele- occupies a considerable portion of the budget.

For PEF 2023, 73 of these programs were considered -with and without operating rules- for an amount that amounts to 550 billion pesos, which will represent around 10% of total net spending.

Since 2020, Coneval has documented worrisome findings regarding the operation of 17 programs, which presented problems in their design or did not have it at the time of the evaluation, so the Council anticipated their failure, with the risk of increasing the number of poor

Has the prophecy of José López Portillo already been fulfilled in our Mexico, when for more than four decades he warned: “The worst thing that can happen to Mexico is to become a country of cynics…”?

Cynical is the “attitude of the person who lies shamelessly and defends or practices in a shameless, impudent and dishonest way, something that deserves general disapproval”.

In relation to this concept, the French philosopher Bédard proposed some “philosophical dimensions of cynicism” that characterize it especially in “leaders”, namely politicians: The practices that are humor, hostility, sarcasm, disrespect, laughter , the joke, the mockery, the provocation; the validity criteria, which are the non-coherence between thought, word and action; the fundamental ones, the resistance, the impassibility, the malice, the lie; and the root ones, which are self-control, irony, scandal, exaggeration and artificial dogmatism.

Should we consider Mexico a country of cynics? Millions of Mexicans are complicit in cynicism when they believe that a Transformation is underway; when they believe that corruption, nepotism and the practices of neoliberalism are over… and when there is still hope that the country’s leader has the capacity to get the country out of the crisis and redirect it towards welfare and social justice.

Of course we are not a country of cynics just because some of its leaders are.

We are like 70 million Mexicans who do not agree with the polarization, rancor and lies. We expect leadership with moral authority that leads by example.

*** Academic and consultant.

Austerity when living in a Palace?