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Javier Milei eliminates half of Argentina's government ministries on first day as president
Photo by Luis Robayo - Pool/Getty Images

Javier Milei eliminates half of Argentina's government ministries on first day as president

Javier Milei, Argentina's new libertarian president, has wasted no time amputating various bureaucratic tentacles.

Within hours of being sworn into office on Sunday, Milei made good on his vow to take a "chainsaw" both to government spending and to what he called his country's "political caste," signing an executive order to cut the number of government ministries from 18 to nine.

What's the background?

Argentina is suffering 143% annual inflation. Four in 10 Argentines are living in poverty. The country has a trade deficit of over $43 billion and a $45 billion debt to the International Monetary Fund, reported the Associated Press.

Milei, keen to stop the bleeding, proposed his so-called Chainsaw Plan in June 2022, detailing how he would sell off state-owned companies, slash public spending, reduce and simplify taxes, and eliminate the various government agencies seen to be exacerbating the country's financial crisis. Additionally, he suggested the country would adopt the U.S. dollar and shut down Argentina's central bank.

Milei reiterated part of his plan in a video that went viral ahead of the election.

"Ministry of Tourism and Sports — out!" he said, tearing a ministry name tag off a whiteboard. "Ministry of Culture — out! Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development — out! Ministry of Women, Genders and Diversity — out! Ministry of Public Works — out, even if you resist!"

Milei also tore off the tags denoting the Ministries of Science, Technology, and Innovation; Labor, Employment, and Social Security; Education; Transportation; Health; and Social Development.

The president-to-be concluded the video by stressing, "The thievery of politics is over. Long live freedom, damn it!"

Adios, big government

While convention dictates the newly elected president give his inaugural speech to an assembly of lawmakers, Milei instead addressed supporters outside the National Congress building in Buenos Aires, stressing that now is the time for austerity and tough love.

"There's no money," the economist told the crowd.

"We don't have margin for sterile discussions. Our country demands action, and immediate action," said Milei. "The political class left the country at the brink of its biggest crisis in history. We don't desire the hard decisions that will need to be made in coming weeks, but lamentably they didn't leave us any option.

"In the last 12 years, GDP per capita fell 15% in a context in which we accumulated 5,000% inflation. As such, for more than a decade we have lived in stagflation. This is the last rough patch before starting the reconstruction of Argentina," he continued.

Milei added, "It won't be easy; 100 years of failure aren't undone in a day. But it begins in a day, and today is that day."

A century of failure might take some time to undo, but Milei nevertheless got a decent head start Sunday. Milei issued a presidential decree titled "Decree of Necessity and Urgency," which eliminated eight government ministries.

DPA International reported that the Ministries of Social Development, Health, Labor, and Education will all be collapsed and rolled into a new Ministry of Human Capital. What remains of the Ministry of Women, Genders and Diversity will be subordinated to this new ministry.

According to the Buenos Aires Herald, a special commission will analyze whether the decree is valid. Afterward, it will go to a vote in the Argentine Senate and Chamber of Deputies. For the decree to be annulled, both chambers must vote to reject it.

The Milei administration characterized the cut as a means "to rationalize the actions of the nation-state and make them more efficient."

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Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon is a staff writer for Blaze News. He lives in a small town with his wife and son, moonlighting as an author of science fiction.
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