Thursday, January 24, 2008

Voting themselves a pay raise

The people of El Salvador don't have a very high opinion of the legislators in the National Assembly. In a 2006 poll, only 8% of Salvadorans indicated they had confidence in the National Assembly (but still better than the scant 5% who trust the political parties). That opinion is falling farther as the news came to light that deputies in the National Assembly had voted themselves a pay increase in the last budget without any discussion. The salary increases ranged from $1840 to $2920 per month. At a time when many Salvadoran families are struggling with an increasing cost of living, legislators who increase the minimum wage $5 per month and their own salaries $2000 per month should not be suprised at the outcry against them.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Jesus! I make more than the legislators and I'm retired.

Anonymous said...

One of the reasons there is no work in El Salvador is that various political parties are anti-investment because they fear loosing power due to adverse public opinion! They publicly state they are for development but their actions, or lack of actions, says otherwise! Until people hold their representaives responsible, through voting for example, there will be no change! And voting for a party that promotes an anti-globalization agenda isn't going to encourage investment in El Salvador either. People need to be realistic when looking at their options! Rather than relying on handouts from the US and Europe, make some hard domestic choices. The El Salvadorian people are the hardest workng and most resourceful in all Latin America! Given a chance, they could become a regional economic power! Make the politicians work for their compensation!

Maarten said...

About the National Assembly and on how national assemblies vote on legislative affairs that relate to policies:

I believe that policies should be based on science, not on interest or ideology. Issues facing El Salvador transcend political boundries.

Parties like ARENA and the FMLN have departments of "ideology" (their own term) to define the organs that are tasked with defining policy. Shameful to say the least.

What concerns me is that Salvadorans likely will not know the difference if a policy is implemented on scientific merit or on ideology.

Actual bus stops have been created at particular malls, but bus drivers still fail to stop at the bus stops at malls , and bus drivers allow people to disembark the bus well before the bus stop. Both the city government, public transport authorizes, and those that enjoy public transport are to blame.

A sign of protest perhaps, or recalcitrance? Whatever the reason may be, the conclusion is the same. Implementing legislation, whether people have faith in the national assembly, is hampered by Salvadorans not working together.

I hope I don't need to explain the economies of savings gained, economically and socially, of having a set bus stop, at a set time, to transport the public from A to B.

The National Assembly is not always to blame.

And on "the reasons there is no work in El Salvador is that various political parties are anti-investment":

This is simply not true. El Salvador is importing an increasingly significant amount of labor because Salvadorans are typically not willing to fill jobs in the services sector and, more importantly the agricultural sector.

The minimum wages, for starting salaries in both sectors, however, is an issue. the National Assembly should address the minimum wage and use basic econometrics to implement policy. Many of them, and their children, are fortunate enough to have studied in the United States and/or Europe, and have the skills, or at least, have some knowledge of whom t ask how to implement an effective policy.

I just married a Salvadoran and getting increasingly concerned about what I'm seeing happen in El Salvador.

Anonymous said...

Interesting but I believe wrong (maarten)! I know so many people looking for work it's sad! They don't live in San Salvador because they cannot afford to. Instead, many leave for the USA hoping to find a basic job! There is nothing available in the rural parts of this country!

You are right that basic laws are not enforced! And how many job generating projects are waiting for approval from various governmental agencies (MARN for example)? There are laws and treaties governing how the country should operate but they are not respected! The government seldom adheres to their own laws! How can there be a sense of security for forgein development when there is no basic law and order (even if GB is Tony's friend)! A lawyer I know said in relation to recent cases he represented before the El Salvador government "that without law and order, there can be no civil society, only anarchy!" Only the radical church, extreme left and organized crime will win in this climate!

The government has to do more to bring jobs and promote development in El Salvador! The current power group is failing miserably!

Bosquesillo said...

Wasn't there an award ceremony last year with the Salvadoran President as the honoree? ... something about doing good things for El Sal's people and the country?

Yes. I thought it was hilarious too.

El-Visitador said...

«basic laws are not enforced!»

Of course not.

Too busy dealing with nouvelle ministries such as Tourism and Environment, to bother dealing with mundane things such as:

- cops
- detectives
- government prosecutors
- judges
- jails

Sorry! No time! No money!

Busy, busy, dealing with hiring French consultants to jump-start a native cinema industry, or hiring Gringo consultants to see if it's best to promote El Salvador as a tourism destination on CNN or the Travel Channel.

inner-self said...

el visitador comes up with the funniest s##t always. i think tourism and environment can´t be so bad. however, on the main issue, i don´t think it should be such a big deal these clowns called deputies or congresspeople get a pay raise, except so much, so soon, and to such a contrast with the rest of the population. not mentioning their legislations are more often than not garbage. but oh well, now i know whom and how, people are purchasing those expensive condominiums being sold and built right now in el salvador. torres campestre, torres multiplaza, anyone? oh yes, high rise buildings are finally coming to el salvador (sarcasm).

inner-self said...

el visitador comes up with the funniest s##t always. i think tourism and environment can´t be so bad. however, on the main issue, i don´t think it should be such a big deal these clowns called deputies or congresspeople get a pay raise, except so much, so soon, and to such a contrast with the rest of the population. not mentioning their legislations are more often than not garbage. but oh well, now i know whom and how, people are purchasing those expensive condominiums being sold and built right now in el salvador. torres campestre, torres multiplaza, anyone? oh yes, high rise buildings are finally coming to el salvador (sarcasm).

Qiuvo said...

Not surprising. The Salvadoran people keep getting screwed.

By the way, just received this link to a film about Salvadoran gangs. If this was posted earlier by someone else, sorry.

http://www.lafemme-endormie.com/vidaloca/

Joseph said...

I am developing a presentation for a beginning Spanish Class, and I must build a cultural presentation on El Salvador.

This Blog seems exactly the right kind of forum for getting honest answers and real opinions.

I visited El Salvador twice (my wife is Salvadoran) and I was impressed with the beauty of the country and the people.

I was also dismayed that basic serices were erratic (i.e., water, electricity), polution was overwhelming (in the capital), and trash and disorder was everywhere.

It was a relief to drive again in the US where a car horn is considered rude (except for a warning).

I think that the rules of society are reflected by its traffic, and in El Salvador, it seems like most anything goes.

My frustration in visiting El Salvador is that the energy, enterprise and industry of so many people in El Salvador is sapped by a lack of education, a lack of basic government services, and a lack of real opportunities.

The problem with labor conditions in El Salvador is well known.

Salvadorans who have money coming in from the US often don't want to work for less than they receive from their relatives. Hondurans and Guatamalans seem willing to work for the starvation wages.

Maids are still part of the economy, since poor families are glad to be rid of young girls so they don't have to feed them. This amounts to little better than slave wages and fosters abuse.

And the government is no protector. I know a Salvadoran that needed to flee (about a year ago) due to death threats because of a successful business venture. The business was prospering and very lucrative, and very high level government officials wanted in on the action.

So, how do you solve the problem of an under-educated population, an unresponsive government? How do you solve the problem of 45% of the country's earning going to
20% of the population? [In contrast, the bottom 20% enjoys(?) 5.8% of the wealth(?). scarcasm intended]

In addition to sending money to El Salvador from the US, Salvadans retiring, cashing out their US home equity and returning with US pensions are driving up the cost of housing in El Salvador.

Add to the problem of the aftermath of the Civil War, and the death of 80,000; plus the ethnic cleasning of "La Matanza" in 1932 where between 30,000 and 40,000 peasants were murdered, and you have a frightened population that fears standing up to their government. (Of course this suppressed anger simmers until a new conflict boils over.)

So, who in El Salvador dares oppose the pay raise that their elected officials voted for themselves?

In a country with such rich potential, it seems sad that so many people are left to suffer. But, a solution to so much misery needs to come from the Salvadoran people, not from our imprinting US solutions on the country.

Sadly, these solutions will take time, and probably an entire generation of government leaders(?), will need to grow old and die before any real prospect for improvement is realized.

Anonymous said...

e-v suprises me more and more everytime. How is that a distraction for the govt? What does that have to do with enforcing the law? How is that even an arguement?

El-Visitador said...

« How is that a distraction for the govt?»

In El Salvador we have a saying: "el que mucho abarca, poco aprieta"

The Salvadorean government has its grubby, ineffective fingers in too many pies.

Therefore, it has no energy, no focus, no time, and no money to perform the basic functions of the State.

Abolish half the ministries, and there will be money, energy, and time for Justice and Police.

Less is more, you know.

El-Visitador said...

«How do you solve the problem of 45% of the country's earning going to 20% of the population? [In contrast, the bottom 20% enjoys(?) 5.8% of the wealth(?)»

Is your data accurate? Because if it is, it means that Salvadoreans absolutely love inequality. You see, inequality means opportunity: it means that if you are in the lowest quintile and move up one quintile, your income absolutely shoots up!

How do I know that Salvadoreans love this type of opportunity? Because they mostly move to the U.S, which has the following numbers:

50.1% of the country's earning going to
20% of the population? In contrast, the bottom 20% enjoys(?) 3.5% of the wealth
---UNITED STATES OF GRINGOLAND, source: U.S. Census Bureau (2001)


- * -


No matter how many Socialist myths you may have heard, the problem in El Salvador is not the distribution of wealth.

The problem is that there is too little wealth. The pie is too small.

This is why we need more wealth. We need more mines, more LNG and coal power plants, more hydro power, more highways, and more factories.