The iconoclastic economist Javier Milei was sworn in as Argentina’s president on Sunday, and his refreshing inauguration speech was like nothing we’ve ever heard from an incoming national leader.
Facing a country where newly published figures show 45% of its 46 million people are in poverty and the economy is on the edge of hyperinflation, Milei pledged a “new era” that will include shock budget therapy, dollarization of the economy, and “a different country, in which the state does not direct our lives. He who (refuses to work), does not get paid….the only way out of poverty is through more freedom.”
He warned that if nothing is done the nation faces “an inflation rate of 15,000 percent a year that we are going to fight tooth and nail to eradicate.”
Step one must be to strictly limit government spending. Over the past 50 years government spending as a share of the economy has almost doubled (see chart).
Will Milei actually keep his promises? It’s a good sign that his first act as president was to cut the number of government agencies in half.