Argentines protest farm tax hike
Farmers in Argentina have escalated their protests against the tax hikes on agricultural products decreed by President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner to make up for a government revenue shortfall. Police used force to dismantle the roadblocks which they had created with their trucks, and the economy is suffering from these disruptions. According to CNN.com, "hundreds of thousands of gallons of spoiled milk have been dumped," causing a significant decline in export revenues. Although most of the protest have been centered in rural areas, there have been demonstrations in favor of the farmers in the capital city, Buenos Aires.
Ever since Argentina defaulted on its foreign debts during the currency crisis in 2001-2002, the economy has been artificially stimulated, and sooner or later the day of reckoning would come. They can't run an economy that is so heavily regulated by the state forever without some major adverse consequences. President Fernandez will either move toward a freer economic policy, as did Carlos Menem in the 1990s, or Argentina will remain in a turbulent state. Just when world prices for agricultural products are skyrocketing, Argentina should be taking advantage of the situation by giving farmers free rein. Failure to make such an adjustment would be insanity.