Friday, August 13, 2010

A Scandal without a Real Villain

El Universal had a story on yesterday's front page that the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation is on pace to spend only about half of the $5 billion it was alloted for 2010 investments. The agency's chief, Juan Molinar Horcasitas, blamed the lack of spending on the stimulus package in 2009, saying that much investment planned for 2010 was moved up by a year. That story seems extremely unlikely, given that in 2009 SCT spent a comparably puny slice of its allotment. You hear stories about this sort of thing periodically in Mexico, which makes you wonder what the problem is: is the federal government allocating much more money than the recipients have the capacity to spend, or are there lots of people running cabinet agencies who just don't know how to manage money, or what? In any event, if Mexico has 5 billion to invest on its energy industry and transportation infrastructure, you'd think getting projects up and running with that cash would be a great way to create jobs now and generate better growth down the line.

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