President López Obrador never ceases to amaze with the arguments he uses to defend his public policy decisions. It is noteworthy that in order not to see its popularity diminished by the upward behavior of prices, it is capable of putting at risk not only the capacity of Mexico and its agricultural producers to effectively embed themselves in international markets, but even more seriously , the health of Mexicans. He thus he showed it in the morning of yesterday.
Since the new version of the Plan Against Inflation and Famine (Pacic) was announced, it has become clear that in its desperation to try to prevent the inflation rate from getting out of hand, the government of President López Obrador is capable of experiment with policies that set aside the responsibility of the Mexican State to ensure that the food or products that are imported into the Mexican market comply with the phytosanitary or zoosanitary controls that Mexico has required up to now for agri-food imports, as all countries do. countries, arguing that the procedures are excessively bureaucratic or that the officials in charge of this task have been in this administrative function for many years, According to the president, since it is an agreement based on good will, the businessmen who receive the license or permit to import food with the exemption in phytosanitary and health matters, they must take charge that “those food If they are well, that they do not make the population sick, something happens, you are responsible, but we trust you.”
Here there are two soups, either he is extremely naive or he flatly does not want to recognize that in the absence of measures that protect the health of crops or animals, as well as the health of people, and worse, in the absence of institutions that supervise that If these measures are complied with, there will be perverse incentives for more than one company to feel attracted, due to the possibility of obtaining extraordinary profits, of bringing food to Mexico that no longer meets the quality or sanitary standards of other countries.
It is to be expected that under this lax framework, in the absence of the State, undesirable situations arise in terms of public health, because meat in poor condition was imported from another country, or situations in terms of plant health, because exposed grains were imported. to a pest, which could in turn affect other crops, in this case for export, which could be the subject of future controls or restrictions by the United States authorities, who would rightly have elements to avoid putting at risk crops of that country.
So it can well be considered that the new measures against inflation have a significant load of irresponsibility, which can only be explained by the desperation to prevent inflation from passing the cost to the popularity of the president, and therefore, to the candidacy proposal. presidential election of his party, ahead of the 2024 elections. The landfill or the phytosanitary or human health problems that may arise from this recent policy, that they solve it and those that come after it, first comes popularity, more was missing.
When referring to the guaranteed prices -which he is using as an instrument to support the producers- the president went so far as to affirm, falsely, “that they had never existed, well yes, during the government of General Cárdenas. So now there is a guaranteed price for corn, a guaranteed price for beans, a guaranteed price for rice, a guaranteed price for milk…”. That is not true, guaranteed prices existed in Mexico from the thirties to the nineties, of the last century, with an enormous fiscal cost for taxpayers. They were eliminated because of this, because of the high cost and because of the perverse incentives they generated, which even caused the clearing of forests or jungles or the erosion of land, to the detriment of the environment and the sustainable development of our country.
*The author is an economist.