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7 out of 10 grade repeters have parents with low education

Politicians are beginning to recognize last decade’s education decline. But simultaneously, they are minimizing its negative impacts. The clearest evidence is that the government intends to give a positive outlook to the large number of people who neither study nor work, arguing that most of them are young women dedicated to the caring of their children. This position, of an overwhelming conservatism, ignores that early motherhood with low education is a powerful factor in the intergenerational reproduction of poverty that adversely affects their children’s educational level.     

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The 2014 budget anticipates a strong adjustment cut

As it has been occurring for several years, the budget submitted to the Congress suffers from severe inconsistencies. Still, it contains valuable information. Very suggestive data is that the increase in pensions, government salaries and subsidies to unprofitable public and private companies are projected to grow below the inflation level. This is a strong evidence that, beyond political speeches, the dreaded “economic adjustment” is not a policy option but an inevitable path originated in the last decade’s wrong decisions and wasted resources.

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Small businesses generate 8 out of 10 informal jobs

According to INDEC, the incidence of unregistered employment remains above a third of the total workforce. This is a phenomenon, with very negative social impact that deserves special attention.  There is no chance of inducing the formalization of small businesses if the administrative burden to register a worker is not simplified and the tax burden is not moderated. Therefore, the creation of a “special tax system for micro-enterprises” can provide solutions since almost all of informal employment is generated by micro-enterprises. 

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1 in 4 seventeen year olds have stopped studying

Once again there is a proposal to lower the age of criminal responsibility in order to fight crime. It is extremely positive that the political agenda is focused on issues that concern the citizens. But the proposal ignores the most important cause that makes adolescents become offenders, which is early school dropout. Therefore, the most effective way to prevent juvenile delinquency is not toughening the criminal justice system, but correcting the severe management problems suffered by the educational system and the Universal Child Allowance. 

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Aerolíneas Argentinas costs more than the security plan

The central government has decided to send the national gendarmerie to help with the Buenos Aires metropolitan area security crisis. It is an opportunistic measure which leads to neglect the objectives of this semi-militar force, as well as overlapping functions with the local police. A genuine way to truly improve the security of all the citizens (not only the people of Buenos Aires) is to stop public overspending in subsidies and to transfer those funds to the provincial governments for them to improve the local police.

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The reform on income tax increases the tax preassure

The government has established a decrease in the income tax for a group of workers compensating the revenue loss by increasing other taxes. The design of the tax change is technically poor. On one hand, it temporarily reduces tax pressure only on some wages, as sustained inflation will raise it again. On the other hand, it intends to create new taxes that will leave Argentina out of place in the regional competition for new investments. The most troubling issue is that neither the ruling party nor the opposition is showing signs of thinking innovative ideas. 

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Argentina invests in education more than Canada and Australia

International comparisons are an effective tool for analyzing and improving public policy. So the government’s proposal to compare Argentina with developed countries with similar endowments is very positive. Instead of questioning this practice, it would be favorable to enrich the debate providing seriousness and professionalism to the comparison and extending it to other important issues such as educational indicators. 

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Mexico suffers a similar energy crisis as Argentina

Elections in Argentina showed the ruling party and the opposition having unsubstantial disputes. There is yet no awareness about the severity of the accumulated problems and the costs of carrying on with bad policies. No proposal emerges to overcome this critical situation. Thus, analogies between the oil crisis in Mexico and Argentina offer a very sobering testimony of the difficulties both countries face and the political difficulties that surge in trying to reverse the consequences of demagoguery and voluntarism.

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9 out of 10 workers are not reached by the income tax

Between one-fourth and one-third of formal employees pay the income tax. But taking into consideration the workers in the informal segment of the labour market, who generally perceive low wages, the impact of the income tax is reduced to only 10% of the total workforce. In this context, by trying to downsize the incidence of the income tax without first reducing unproductive government expenditure -like the one which is being proposed by the opposition- is a regressive change in the tax system since it necessarily leads to an increase in the burden of other anti-poor taxes, such as the inflation tax, that relies heavily in the budget of the poor households. 

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2 teachers hired every 3 new students

The political debate in the electoral campaign is filled with superficial speeches, overcharged with self-praise and criticism towards oppossing candidates. In contrast, ignorance and complacency about important issues prevails.  Particularly relevant is the deterioration of the public educational system. Citizens support a record tax burden in order to sustain the high increase in public investment in education. But this effort is wasted due to low educational quality management.

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