Day by Day

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Mexicans Need To Get Mad At Mexico For A Change

Concerning the Mexican elections, I wrote a comment to another blog, Big Lizards, that I thought it would be better if the socialist, Obrador, won instead of Calderón. My reasons were simple and cynical. I thought Obrador would quickly make an even bigger mess of the Mexican economy, and that Mexicans would finally be fed up and fix things.

Obviously, mine is not a popular position, but it should be. "No pain, no gain." America is a nation of tinkers. We like to work on a problem, make a little change here, an adjustment there, take a little nip, put in a little tuck, cobble it together, and muddle through. That’s why we have abominations like paying non-farmers to not farm. Why not non-workers to not work?

Oops, that's right, we're already doing that.

Eventually the best approach to a problem is to tear down the old and build anew. Add Social Security and the Internal Revenue Service to the long list of things that have been and continue to be tinkered, when they really need a mercy killing and rebirth.

Mexico is like a druggie, an alcoholic. No one can cure the druggie or alcoholic but themselves. And to cure themselves, they have to want the cure, which usually means they have to hit rock bottom first before they want to go into recovery. That’s not going to happen as long as the Mexican government does a half-assed job of running the country, and the United States gives Mexicans a way to escape their misery. As it now stands, the government of Mexico owes its continued existence to illegal immigration and the remittances illegal immigrants send back to Mexico.

Almost twenty percent of Mexicans are in the United States, and their remittances in total roughly equal the value of Mexico’s largest export, oil. With the output of Mexican oil fields declining steadily, and the economy of the United States booming, where does that leave the Mexicans? In misery? Or in America?

Why can’t a nation with abundant natural resources, salubrious climate, energetic and hardworking citizens, located next to the richest nation of all time, be prosperous? As Dick E. noted in a comment on Big Lizards, the country has been run “in a manner of speaking” by a stable political party for almost a century. When you compare the progress the United States and Mexico have made in that one hundred years, it is obvious Mexico has made no significant progress. Compare Mexico to South Korea. Half a century ago South Korea was war torn and impoverished. In 2005, South Korea’s per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was $20,400, Mexico’s was $10,000. Even Botswana was doing better ($10,500).

Mexico is missing two key ingredients for progress – ending corruption and improving education. And to improve education, Mexico has to end corruption. Let’s try another comparison. Less than 200 years ago Ireland was an impoverished nation of starving people, with civil wars and insurrections. Ireland and Mexico achieved political stability at about the same time, and now Ireland’s educated population produces a per capita GDP of $41,000, seventh highest in the world and almost up with the United States ($41,800).

The students of both South Korea and Ireland achieve high rankings in math, reading, and science, and Mexico is ranked near the bottom in all three categories. Other nations that suffered the devastation of war – Germany, France, Japan, Poland, even Russia – are all ranked higher on both education and economic performance than Mexico. Does it take a war or revolution for Mexico to start getting its act together?

UPDATE: Be careful what you wish for, because some times wishes come true.

"Democratic" López Obrador Threatens Revolution If He Loses, as posted at Big Lizards

Even Al Gore and John Kerry weren't quite this big a sore loser!

UPDATED UPDATE: Yes they are, at least Robert "I'm not the Kennedy in rehab - yet" Kennedy, Jr. is!

Almost two years later, Robert Kennedy, Jr. is still fighting the 2004 presidential election results in Ohio. In Rolling Stone magazine, of all places. Interestingly, many of his conclusions were refuted by the Democratic Party in a study they performed following the election, after which they concluded that President Bush had indeed won Ohio. His conclusions were also refuted in the following Salon.com article.

Was the 2004 election stolen? No. By Farhad Manjoo, Salon.com, June 3, 2006
"In Rolling Stone, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. argues that new evidence proves that Bush stole the election. But the evidence he cites isn't new and his argument is filled with distortions and blatant omissions."

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