Thursday, March 5, 2015

Today's Headlines: This just in from England — more spending cuts will be coming in 2016 . . . in Mexico.

President Peña Nieto took Luis Videgaray with him to the UK, and the finance secretary apparently considered the sceptered isle a convenient venue for talking about more spending cuts in the Mexican budget.
    We already knew the approved 2015 budget would not be the last. But La Jornada, apparently bothered that it was delivered from across the Atlantic, leads with the speech under the headline “From GB, Videgaray announces another spending cut for 2016.”
    What the federal government has to pull of is a budget adjustment that accounts for decreased revenue from lower oil prices without increasing the public debt. And it has to do it without raising taxes, because the president promised there’d be no more tax hikes after those that took effect on January 1 of this year. He can’t renege on that or his leadership is toast.
    What the cuts mean on the ground is demonstrated in La Jornada’s No. 3 front-page head: “The creation of 250,000 jobs will be left behind: Navarrete Prida.”  Labor Secretary Alfonso Navarrete blamed the abandonment of established employment goals on the in-place 2015 budget cuts, a tacit admission that the administration's promised economic progress is on hold. Once again, average Mexicans will have to suck it up a little longer before the good times come round, something they’ve been asked to do since, oh, say 1810.
    In England Wednesday, Videgaray talked again about decreasing spending by implementing zero-based budgeting for 2016. Instead of lopping off X percent across the board, or cutting Y percent here and Z percent there, funding decisions for every program and department will start from scratch.
    That leaves lots of leeway for judgment calls — policy through budgeting. One of the first things the new Congress resulting from the June 7 elections will deal with is approving a proposed austerity budget. Calm will not prevail.

Zetas leader Omar Treviño’s arrest doesn’t get the kind of ink this morning that the Knights Templar’s La Tuta got last week. All five dailies front the news, but only Excelsior leads with it, using Treviño’s nom de guerre: “Z-42, leader of Los Zetas, captured.”
    Milenio’s head, in its No. 3 slot, reminds readers of just who we’re talking about here: “Butcher of Royale and San Fernando falls.” The paper identifies Treviño as being “behind” two horrific narcoterrorist attacks in 2011, though he wasn’t the organization’s leader at the time.
    One took place in the Casino Royale in Monterrey, where Zetas opened fire on guests and then set the building on fire, killing at least 52, mostly women. The other was in San Fernando, a small town in the border state of Tamaulipas, where 147 abducted bus passengers were slaughtered and buried in some four dozen common graves.

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