Milei’s Economic Program for Argentine: an Experiment in Destruction

Should the IMF-approved radical free-market policies announced by Argentina’s Libertarian President Javier Milei remain in place, the Argentine people will experience an unprecedented level of hardship and death. Indeed, he has declared war on his fellow citizens, announcing savage “shock therapy,” and demanding Congressional passage of an “urgency and necessity” decree (DNU) and an “Omnibus” bill which together will allow him to rule by decree and usurp the powers of Congress until the end of 2025. Both bills include sweeping deregulation, budget slashing, currency devaluation and privatization while ripping up fundamental labor and human rights.

Milei has also officially withdrawn Argentina from the BRICS, which it was scheduled to join on Jan. 1 of this year. By doing so, he has severed the country’s connection to a group that represents the future of humanity, tying it instead to the bankrupt, shrinking unipolar world that is wedded to the increasingly irrelevant “rules-based” order.

While Milei’s proposed bills are adorned with the verbiage associated with von Hayek’s Austrian School of economics, they come directly from London and Wall Street. On Dec. 12, right after Finance Minister Luis Caputo announced a package of brutal austerity policies, IMF Managing Director Katerina Georgieva posted on X, “I welcome the decisive measures announced by President Milei and his economic team today, an important step toward restoring stability and rebuilding the country’s economic potential.” All regulation of prices and subsidies that reduce the cost of utilities and transportation have been removed in the name of “liberating” the population from the “oppression” of the state. Against the backdrop of a 40-45% poverty level, these measures will kill people, as food, healthcare and housing are priced beyond the reach of all but the wealthiest and hunger, poverty and disease grow exponentially.

For Argentina, Milei’s so-called “revolutionary” program is not really new; it has been imposed on the country many times in the past, notably during the 1976-83 military dictatorship which enforced a fascist economic policy with brutal repression, torture, murders and “disappearances”. Milei has designed plans to smash all protest through fierce police repression, surveillance and punishing jail terms, to be overseen by his battleaxe Security Minister Patricia Bullrich. But the country’s powerful, largely Peronist-dominated labor movement has told Milei it will resist these fascist measures, with nationwide mobilizations and the backing of large social organizations that represent the poor and unemployed. The large CGT trade union federation has called a general strike for Jan. 24, in coordination with the CTA labor federation, and both have won court injunctions that suspended the chapter of the DNU that eliminates workers’ rights, including the right to strike. This has infuriated Javier Milei, who is desperate to ram these two atrocities through a divided Congress.

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