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It's a matter of inequality

In Mexico, at least half of the population lives in poverty and the purchasing power of wages has dwindled; the minimum daily wage is currently below the poverty line
Mexican legislators - File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
26/02/2018
08:36
Mexico City
Newspaper Leader by EL UNIVERSAL
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The perception that becoming a public servant is equal to obtaining a juicy economic prize will hardly dissipate if the privileges continue, according to the information published today by EL UNIVERSAL.

Deputies haven't been elected yet, not even the aspiring candidates for Congress,  and the current Legislature has already secured for the legislators arriving in September millions in food, gas, and grocery vouchers.

Today, deputies have monthly wages of MXN$73,910 (USD$3,964*); MXN$45,786 (USD$2,456*) for attending meetings and MXN$25,772 (USD$1,382*) in services for the citizenry. And in addition to their monthly income, deputies don't have to worry about paying for lunch during each legislative meeting or gas, as an annual agreement of MXN$264 million (USD$14.1 million) was awarded to cover said expenses – a figure 35 million higher than that awarded two years ago. From 2016 to 2018, expenses for this concept rose by 15%.

It's evident the wages and benefits of legislators wouldn't be news if most of the population had, likewise, wages and benefits that covered more than their basic needs yet this is not so. In Mexico, at least half of the population lives in poverty and the purchasing power of wages has dwindled. The National Council for the Evaluation of Social Development Policy (CONEVAL), an organization measuring poverty in Mexico, has pointed out that the minimum daily wage of the population prevalent in the country is below the poverty line.

To the above we can add figures of the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI) on occupation and employment – up to 2016 – that show almost half of the employed population in the country only earns two minimum daily wages, that is, MXN$5,000 (USD$267,748*) per month.

There are even more data: the employed population earning over three daily wages has reduced drastically, going from 23.8% during the first quarter of 2013 to 17.9% during the second quarter of 2017. Yet, those who earn less than three minimum wages went from 65.6% to 68.9% during the same time period.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has also documented that the income earned by 10% of the richest population is 29 times greater than the wages of 10% of the poorest population.

While million of Mexicans are still submerged in poverty, the benefits and wages of legislators and high-ranking bureaucratic officers will continue to be an offense to them. It's a matter of inequality.

* Calculated at a rate of USD$1= MXN$18.64

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