May 16, 2022 6:02 am

Deputy Milei’s salary

The national deputy for La Libertad Avanza Javier Milei resolved to give each month the amount of the diet that corresponds to him as a legislator to whoever is the winner of a lottery. More than a million people signed up online to participate for free in this first opportunity.

Milei based her decision on the fact that her libertarian ideology is incompatible with living on public funds, in line with his usual diatribes to what he calls “the political caste”, a category that he understands to be made up of true public employment professionals whom he usually describes as “parasites”. You are right to bring to light how much a deputy earns, but it does not rescue, as it should, legislators who work seriously and intensely. However, it is your right to redirect the diet that you are paid. Other public officials, at different times in the country’s history, donated part or all of their salaries for, for example, charitable causes, attending to provincial or national emergencies or for non-governmental organizations, among other destinations.

Regardless of the judgment that Milei’s attitude deserves, the truth is that has kept one of the promises he had made during the election campaign. It is no small thing for someone to do what they once said they would do when they asked to be voted on. Unfortunately, in these times what abounds is exactly the opposite: the degradation of any idea of ​​promise or contract between the leaders and the community. Suffice it to recall everything that was declared about Kirchnerist corruption by both the president Alberto Fernandez as the deputy Sergio Massa until very shortly before putting himself politically under the orders of the former president Cristina Fernandez. In this regard, it is fair to recognize that, with his gesture, Miley is out of tune, but for good.

The threats coming from sectors of the Government to investigate the use that could be made of the personal data of those who signed up to participate in the draw are completely unfounded, which seems to show that the ruling party has no other way of counteracting a certain level of impact, in terms of communication, achieved by the witty deputy. The participants registered voluntarily and there is nothing to indicate that their data will be used illicitly. For now, there has not yet been time for that to happen.

No law prohibits a legislator from circumventing your diet and the initiative can serve for citizens to pay attention to the costs of politics, which do not mainly go through the salary of a deputy. Congress, with the number of employees, advisers and administrative dependencies it has, is very expensive for taxpayers. Some of its structures are simple vehicles to pay salaries to party members. The raffle of a diet, without prejudice to its symbolic value, does not reduce the excessive expense of the policy, even if the recipient changes because its owner decides to give away its amount. This does not return to the public coffers nor, obviously, to the taxpayers, with the exception of the winner.

The episode can be valued in different ways, but it cannot be assigned exemplary. Demanding such an attitude from all legislators would be equivalent to preventing access to elective positions to people who do not have sufficient economic means to live on rents, or filling them with people who are not going to dedicate the time that a responsible performance requires or, worse, that are used for unspeakable purposes. It would not be acceptable or compatible with a republic if parliamentary work were only for the rich, the irresponsible or the corrupt. The loss of prestige of what Milei calls “the political caste” could only be reversed through exemplary parliamentary work, which no one would question as being well paid. The bad always ends up being expensive.

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