After several media outlets jumped down Mauricio Macri’s economy adviser’s throat for allegedly saying that the Cambiemos candidate would definitely lower salaries and pensions if elected President, an economy adviser to Daniel Scioli came to his cyber rescue, in what constituted a pleasant departure from the fear mongering and vicious attacks we’ve seen over the last few days.
Here’s what happened:
Macri’s adviser, Carlos Melconián, met with Scioli’s adviser, Gustavo Marangoni, last night in a televised debate titled, “The Road to the Runoff: Two Visions for the Economy,” to discuss their hypothetical plans for the cepo (dollar clamp), inflation and exchange rates.
Over the course of the debate, Melconián said that due to the current economic climate, it would be difficult to raise salaries and pension. A soundbite of said comment making it sound like he was saying Macri would definitely not raise salaries or pensions then exploded across local media, adding fuel to the fear-mongering fire.
But then Marangoni tweeted the following:
Pero nobleza obliga jamás se refirió a salarios y jubilaciones de la forma que algunos le adjudican
— Gustavo Marangoni (@gmmarangoni) November 3, 2015
“It’s my duty to say he never referred to salaries and pensions in the way that some people are claiming.”
This was, needless to say, an unexpected turn of events and, in the heated run up to the elections on the 22 November it is nice to see that, for Marangoni at least, civility isn’t dead.
Here’s what else was said at the debate:
Gustavo Marangoni (FpV)
Scioli ally and head of the Provincial Bank disagreed with Melconián on the topic of exchange rates, arguing that immediate restrictions on currency trade, “would mean a significant devaluation” in the peso and would take Argentina down a road that would in no way favor development.
To back his point, Marangoni reminded everyone present that the current government took power with a back-up reserve of US$50 billion but left with nothing, adding that, under the rule of the FpV party, Argentina saw a record inflation of 30 percent.
He did, however, recognize that both he and the Cambiemos adviser agreed on the importance of lowering inflation, even if they have different visions for how this could be achieved. To this effect, he stated, “The need to lower inflation is something we share. We have to discuss how to do it and what the priorities are. The way in which we do it is important. We have to change our fiscal behavior, especially with a deficit that currently amounts to 6 or 7 percent of the GDP.”
He rounded things off by suggesting that Scioli would look to reform the much-criticized INDEC statistics bureau.
Carlos Melconián (Cambiemos)
Melconián responded to Marangoni’s comments on the exchange rate by calling for a speedy end to the current restrictions on currency trade.
He had it in for the FpV party and, in particular, Marangoni’s, favorite term, “gradualism.” This is the idea that Argentina should lower inflation over an extended period of time, as opposed to the “shock” method which is, as you’d expect, a speedy prioritizing of lowering inflation. Melconián called the shock-versus-gradualism debate, “irrelevant” and explained that, “the sooner we lower inflation the better.”
“It has been very costly for the country to have undergone nine consecutive years of two-digit inflation,” he stated, “it leaves no room for any economic policy debate.”
He was careful not to upset his rival party too much, however, and magnanimously conceded that, “inflation can’t be lowered at any cost… draconian austerity” has and always should be avoided.