Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Mexico City: Presidente Felipe Calderón and his cabinet take 10% pay cut. State governors stampede for the nearest exits.

Presidente Calderón took a 10% pay cut and ordered his cabinet, down through the level of the undersecretaries, of which there are approximately 129,217, to do likewise. The cabinet approved his presidential order unanimously. I mean, it was either that or get fired, which would mean a slightly more significant pay cut of approximately 100%.

The nation's state governors, with one exception, bolted for the exits. Governor Francisco Garrido Patrón of Querétaro, who reportedly reduced his salary by 15% when he took office, reduced it further, from 156,464 pesos monthly to 149,000. And he'll still make more than President Calderón, as will at least 3 other state governors. The governors of Aguascalientes, Tamaulipas and Mexico State also earn more than the president of the nation. What a boatload of crap.

Luis Armando Reynoso, governor of that paradise on earth in Aguascalientes, is paid a monthly stipend of 238,103 pesos, or roughly $22,000 US per month, $264,000 US annually. Add to that his Christmas bonus of about 45 days pay, or $33,000 US, plus other undisclosed bonuses of one type or another, plus an "end-of-my-glorious-administration" bonus that could be as much as a full year's pay in one lump sum plus all the money he skims, rakes off, takes in bribes and otherwise steals, and he easily makes more than $500,000 a year. And that's only if he somehow gets left out of the narco trafficker's money pot. If he dips his beak in that, then a million dollars a month is not out of the question.

Governor Zeferino Torreblanca of Guerrero, where narco traffickers murder about 100 people a month, most of them policemen and local government officials, and leave their decapitated heads in neat rows in front of the police station in downtown Acapulco, said that his salary "was irrelevant". He said what was most important was "how efficient his government was in saving money on telephone bills and gasoline (for their heavily armored limousines)."

Governor Torreblanca also spit bile at the dailies Reforma, La Jornada and El Sur for publishing his income in their newspapers. He said, and I kid you not, "I've told you 20 times that that is my gross salary ($162,000 US annual). I have to pay taxes on that." Well, excuuuuuuuse us, guv! He demanded that the executives, editors, reporters, printing press operators and the kids hawking the newspapers on street corners all divulge their salaries to the public, as well.

But Torreblanca wasn't through making a complete fool of himself. He said this, and I give you the exact quote in Spanish as printed in Reforma, translation to follow, if I can dry the tears of mirth from my eyes. When asked if he could justify earning more than most state governors in The United States of America, he responded,
"dicen la mitad de lo que realmente ganan".

Translation: They (the 50 state governors of The United States of America) say it (their salaries) is half what they really earn."

Here is what Presidente Calderón needs in order to deal with recalcitrant state governments.
Turn up the volume on your speakers because the sound is very faint. I want one too.

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