Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Details Screw Up Non-Details

El Universal declared today that the judicial reform of 2008 has been "killed" by the lack of funding in the most recent budget. In fact, the judicial branch will receive 31.4 billion pesos, or 10 percent more funds than they did last year (28.3 billion), but roughly ten percent less than they were asking for (34.9 billion). Nonetheless, this 3.5 billion shortfall, some $280 million, is enough of a hit that 71 courts that were to be used to alleviate the strain on the judicial system will now not be able to begin operating. That's probably worse news for security than the cuts in funding for the PGR. Thanks to declining oil production and a weak tax base, Mexico's revenues are such that there's never going to be enough cash to go around, but if you accept the importance of an improved judicial system to a safer Mexico, this nonetheless represents a setback.

It also serves as another reminded that while legislation is often a vital step toward truly addressing a problem, a landmark reform, however well designed, doesn't in and of itself amount to much.

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