Arjan Shahani has a blog hosted by Americas Quarterly, where he opines on things Mexican.
AQ is published jointly by the Americas Society and the Council of the Americas. Given that the latter is a business organization, founded by David Rockefeller in 1965, and an ardent proponent of neoliberal economics, it should hardly be a surprise that a very business-friendly discourse permeates Shahani's blog - all fine and well, of course; it is certainly his prerogative to promote this agenda.
Another thing is to get one's facts straight, or to quite blatantly distort empirical reality. I have earlier had several quibbles with his column in this regard. Most recently he refers to PRD as the "Partido Revolucionario Democrático." It truly beats me how one can live in Mexico and blog on Mexican politics and not even get the name of one of the country's main parties straight.
Yet my main point is this: He attacks Andrés Manuel López Obrador and his MORENA movement for "appealing to the disheartened lower classes and sowing seeds of division with over-simplified, anti-business message." He acknowledges - it would be impossible not to - that "a huge gap between rich and poor continues to exist," but insists that "it is a distortion of reality to wholly blame the private sector. For one, the government is not broke, nor does it lack the resources to spearhead development initiatives. For another, it
significantly taxes the private sector."
Of course it is a distortion to only blame the private sector - who on earth wants to pay taxes voluntarily? Clearly much of the blame lies with a weak federal government incapable of asserting itself to tax better not only Mexico's corporations, but also the rich in general. Yet let us be clear: The blame also lies with them; they have together fought tooth and nail against attempts to tax them, and mostly with great success: Despite calls from OECE, again and again, that Mexico strengthen its tax-raising capability: Mexico has by far the
lowest level of tax revenue income as a percentage of GDP among any OECD countries.
Another perspective: In Latin America, only Haiti - Haiti - gets less of its GDP from taxes than Mexico.
Perhaps some individual private businesses in Mexico are overtaxed, and certainly the explosion of the informal economy is a huge challenge to a state wanting to raise revenue, but let's not distort the obvious: The rich in Mexico pay very little taxes and are vastly under taxed.
If you're serious about Mexico's development, go after them, and not just one of the messengers criticizing them. Indeed, who is the true "divider" in Mexico: AMLO, or the rich who have successfully fought off nearly every effort to tax them fairly?