In 1981, when Ronald Reagan took office as president of the United States, he said: “The solution is not the government because the government is the problem.” That country, at that time, had to rethink the size of an overly interventionist state. Indeed: the government was the problem. We, in Mexico, had the same situation, but more acute. When President Miguel de la Madrid arrived in 1982, we had a government that was obese in size and scope. More than the solution, it was the problem.
Much was done from then until 2018 to remove the government from various sectors of economic activity where it was in the way. And although spectacular growth in the economy was not achieved during this neoliberal period (2% on average per year), the country modernized, becoming an export power.
History is usually pendular and, in 2018, our country took a turn with the election of López Obrador. The idea that the government was the solution to the many problems that Mexico had at that time returned. A more active intervention of the State was promised in order to generate better results in the economy, education, health, security, and even the happiness of the population.
Since then two years have passed and we are still waiting. The results have not been given. On the contrary, everything has deteriorated.
We have a President who is very good at talking, but unable to make the many promises come true.
Those in love with active state intervention always speak of hypothetically effective governments. However, those only exist in their heads. Nothing further than the current Mexican government in terms of effectiveness. It is a disaster that has reaffirmed my view that the government is there to solve market failures.
However, due to its characteristics, the covid-19 problem will not be solved by the market. This is indeed a task that corresponds to the State. This requires effective governments. Unfortunately, we do not have them in Mexico. On the contrary, on this issue, the federal government has become one of the problems.
A populist and demagogic government that dismantled public health institutions that had produced good results, such as Seguro Popular. A government that, first, denied the seriousness of the pandemic. Later, when contagions and deaths increased, it affirmed that reaction was “tamed.” That at the forefront a narcissistic charlatan who didn’t even have the humility to adopt the most basic recommendations of the World Health Organization. A government that, from day one, politicized the pandemic by rejecting technical and scientific criteria; that he made decisions to please President López Obrador, not to contain the disease.
This sad story continues now with vaccines. A disaster from any point of view. Again, they promised quick and effective results. They published a calendar where supposedly all adults over 40 would be inoculated before June of this year that in a semester we fix it. Well, we are in February and they have not even finished the first phase for health personnel. The reality is that they did not buy the necessary vaccines. They apparently forgot that without vaccines there is no vaccination.
The government lurks and improvises. They inoculate Campeche teachers, but not all the health personnel of the same state. They buy the Russian vaccine, announces the director of Insabi that the first doses will arrive this week, but Cofepris has not approved it.
What are we playing? Who is responsible for this mess?
They believe that the government is the solution, but we have a shoddy one.
Apparently, many officials did believe what President López Obrador said that governing does not have much science. On the contrary, governing does require a lot of science. It is managing scarce resources, solving very complex problems, and producing results.
In the pandemic, we are seeing the failure of this government. It has become a very onerous hindrance for the country. Because of him, the vaccines do not arrive. Its propagandists hide behind the very poor argument that every country in the world is having problems. True, but, today, Mexico is one of the nations furthest behind in vaccination. Meanwhile, we already surpassed India as the third country in the world with the most deaths.
As good as the dizzy chorus of President López Obrador is, his government is a calamity. It has not been the solution to the pandemic but, on the contrary, it was, is, and continues to be one of the problems.