Ben Shapiro: Why The Media Despise Javier Milei
The perspectives and thoughts expressed in this op-ed are the exclusive purview of the author.
So, Javier Milei is extremely scary.
That’s what the legacy media have decided: The newly elected libertarian conservative leader of Argentina is absolutely frightening. Axios calls him a “far-right libertarian who’s been compared to (former President Donald) Trump.” The New York Times writes, “Argentina Braces Itself for Its New ‘Anarcho-Capitalist’ President,” and called the election Argentina’s “Donald Trump moment.” “Who,” asks The Washington Post, “is Javier Milei, Argentina’s far-right president elect?”
This, unsurprisingly, is not the way the press treated the election of former convict and Left-winger Luiz Inacio Lula de Silva in Brazil. “Brazil Elects Lula, a Leftist Former Leader, in a Rebuke of Bolsonaro,” The New York Times reported last year. “Who,” the Washington Post asked, “is Lula? What to know about Brazil’s president.”
Milei, as we’ve said, is one scary character.
So, what are his deeply frightening positions? He has called for vast cuts to Argentina’s government — a necessity, since Argentina has defaulted on its debts three times since 2001, has a $43 billion outstanding loan to the International Monetary Fund, and now faces another default. They received a $57 billion bailout just five years ago. Thanks to out-of-control spending, Argentina has had to print pesos hand over fist, which is why, according to the Ministry of the Economy, total money supply in Argentina skyrocketed 30.7% a year from 2007 to 2022. The poverty rate in the country is 40%.
Milei’s media appearances may be colorful, but that all serves a purpose: a determination to make massive change to Argentina’s economic trajectory. Milei has promised to slash and burn his way through government, cutting 11 of 19 departments of the government; he campaigned with a chainsaw he pledged he would use on the “parasitic state.” He wants to draw closer to the United States and Israel, and away from China. He wants to dollarize the economy.
All of this should be treated as good news. Argentina’s trajectory has been a total disaster area for decades, despite the glorification of Peronism at the hands of Hollywood. And, in fact, the markets are treating Milei’s election as they should: Argentine stocks and bonds have jumped on Milei’s election, mainly because he is the first leader of Argentina in generations who has a plan to actually avoid economic default.
So, why the heartburn?
Because the reality is that there are many in the United States and Europe, particularly on the political Left, who somehow feel more comfortable with the socialist radicalism of Lula De Silva, Gabriel Boric and even Nicolas Maduro than with anyone who smacks of libertarianism or conservatism. That’s because Argentina is a living example of what happens when corporatism and social democracy are taken to their limits: the substitution of governments for markets, the overregulation of industry in pursuit of social redistributionism, the attempts to create autarky via tariff protections and trade restrictions — the endless populist promise that if all power is given to the government to protect “the people,” all will be well. That promise always results in privation and misallocation, in tyranny and poverty.
Milei’s victory represents that realization.
So Leftists hate Milei.
Now the media and the political Left will attempt to shovel all of Argentina’s failures on Milei’s shoulders. Milei still faces a partly Peronist legislature, as well as a court system stacked in favor of Leftist foolishness: The Supreme Court magistrate Horacio Rosatti recently said that any attempt to dollarize would be unconstitutional. This means that his power may be curbed; he still faces entrenched economic problems, and he will require an infusion of foreign capital in order to right the ship in Argentina. If he comes up short, capitalism and economic liberalism will be blamed for the failures of Peronism. That’s always the pattern: corporatists ruin economies, and then capitalism gets the blame.
But Milei can succeed. Investors ought to look south, to put their money where their mouth is, to ensure that Argentina realizes its potential as a massive source of prosperity, wealth and power — and that alliance with the United States grows stronger as a result.
Ben Shapiro, 39, is a graduate of UCLA and Harvard Law School, host of “The Ben Shapiro Show,” and co-founder of Daily Wire+. He is a three-time New York Times bestselling author; his latest book is The Authoritarian Moment: How The Left Weaponized America’s Institutions Against Dissent. To find out more about Ben Shapiro and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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Last Updated: Tuesday, Nov 21, 2023 15:49:15 -0800
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