Round 1: Economy
In the first twelve minutes of the debate there were vicious exchanges. If the theme suggested that Massa should have his guard up to cushion questions about the Government’s economic direction, this assault took a curious turn. Through “yes or no” questions, the UP candidate took the LLA candidate to the ground he wanted. From the emotional point of view, to making him stumble. Since the times, when Massa had a spare minute without Milei being able to interfere: He promised to sustain the pension system, accumulate reserves to pay the IMF and “get it out of Argentina,” as well as advance to an economy with the twin surpluses (fiscal and commercial) that characterized the first years of Néstor Kirchner.
Milei had started with the “one hundred years of decadence”, inflation, poverty, a product of the “caste model”, characterized according to the libertarian by the fiscal deficit, financed with debt or issuance.
Massa scored, danced in the ring, and launched a furious round that dislocated the challenger: It led him to answer about the privatization of Vaca Muerta, the rivers and seas, the removal of ticket subsidies and the end of the Central Bank. The libertarian dodged the barrage, but several times called Massa a “liar,” limiting him to a “Government of criminals.” He became upset and consumed all of his minutes. He gave a long closing, a monologue, to the Minister of Economy.
Milei defended dollarization and the closure of the Central. Massa accused him of wanting to appropriate “people’s savings in the name of dollarization.”
Round 2: Relations with the World
In this round, the initiative by draw fell to Massa. He asked to think about “multipolarity”, in an agenda of food security and energy security. He briefly mentioned China and Brazil as trading partners that employ “two million people.” Direct frontal attack, which was followed by reference to the Pope and the sovereignty of the Malvinas.
Thus, the LLA candidate began his presentation by answering why he called the Pope “evil,” with apologies included, and denying the self-determination of the Kelper. However, he acknowledged admiration for Margaret Thatcher, whom he compared to Churchill and Reagan.
Uncomfortable, Milei had failures: in addition to comparing football with those who fell in the Malvinas, he made the analogy of when “Cruyff scored 4 goals against Argentina” playing for Germany in the 1974 World Cup. Conceptual and historical errors.
Then, he defended free trade, which is “for the private sector and the State has no reason to get involved.” Massa continued to guide the compulsa and observed the jobs at risk, he also questioned whether the terms and conditions of foreign trade were in the hands of private parties. “It is the countries that set rates, sanitary conditions and those that regulate,” Massa pointed out, taking a tour of numerous provinces that primarily deal with China and Brazil. When Milei suggested “triangulation,” the Minister mentioned that Argentina could be transformed into a “fiscal hideout.”
Round 3: Education and Health
Perhaps in the third round it was where Massa managed to leave the great doubt of the debate: What happened to Milei as a young man during his time as an employee of the Central Bank that he now wants to close? The discussion became heated when the UP candidate accused the libertarian of wanting to avoid psychotherapy. Part of the tactic is to make him seem less balanced. In fact, Massa asked people to observe who has the best “mental balance” to lead the country.
Of course, the Minister of Economy reiterated support for free public education and once again led the LLA candidate to enter his territory, and have to respond about the tariffing of the faculties. The answer, furthermore, was ambiguous.
“Health and education will continue to be public. It is not the responsibility of the National Executive, it depends on the provinces,” said Milei, and recounted the creation of the Ministry of Human Capital. He also accused Massa of being part of a space that, after 16 years in power, left two out of every three boys in poverty. Massa responded that in his administration he will apply 8 points of the GDP to Education and pointed out that the university without subsidies would amount to a fee of $270 thousand.
That was when he pointed out the enigmatic end of young Milei’s internship at Central. Previously, he asked him to stop the “chicanas berretas” and the “grievances” dictated “by the partners who abandoned you today,” in reference to Mauricio Macri and Patricia Bullrich. Although in other sections, Massa pointed out that it is “between you and me”, and that “Macri or Cristina” is not under discussion.
Round 4: Production and Work
By draw, Massa started again. His plan: create two million jobs, zero tax on incremental exporters to SMEs, tax simplification, employer stimulus program for the Great North, zero withholdings for regional economies. Milei responded to the “stagnation” and left the axis again by mentioning Massa as part of the “gang of expropriators.”
The Minister controlled himself in his speech: “You who are at home…”, he continued speaking to the camera, avoiding the jabs launched by the libertarian, whom he cornered by mentioning his “permanent derogatory view of women” and the “stateless look” on economic openness.
Milei once again appealed to the “liar”, between grimaces and gesticulations. And she also accused the UP candidate of “doing business with friends.”
The closing was a gift for Massa, who floated the idea of end of compensation payments.
Round 5: Security
The penultimate round was the calmest, where the candidates measured each other without hitting each other and even had points of agreement, such as Milei’s acceptance of Massa’s success in his management in Tigre.
Curiosity: the libertarian cited the former mayor of New York Rudolph Giuliani. A center without wanting to Massa, since the New Yorker prefaced the book that the presidential candidate wrote when he was mayor of Tigre.
Massa pointed out that as municipal chief he reduced automobile theft by 80% and all crimes by 47%. He mentioned the panic button, the satellite program that he plans to implement in 140 cities with more than 50 thousand inhabitants. Both mentioned legal reforms and perhaps the few clashes were over the independence of the Judiciary and national responsibility for crimes. While Milei tried to push him against the ropes regarding interference in provincial affairs, Massa took the lead in the fight against insecurity.
Round 6: Human rights and democratic coexistence
Perhaps, to seek the knockout, Massa did not take advantage of the controversies of Victoria Villarruel, Milei’s vice presidential candidate, regarding certain claims regarding the dictatorship and the denial of the number of 30 thousand missing. That controversy was not in the debate. Only, the UP candidate indicated that in his administration the policy of “memory, truth and justice, Never Again and the condemnations of the repressors.” He also announced that there will be penalties of “3 to 8 years in prison for environmental crimes.” And he once again convened the aforementioned national unity government.
Milei outlined that Peronism leads to “disorder”, invoked destabilization of radical governments and pointed to commonplaces such as the “memorandum with Iran and the death of Nisman”, catchphrases to end the day.
Massa proposed face to face when he asked him about the dialogue between the two, he as president of the Chamber of Deputies and Milei from his enclosure. There was no contact.
In this section it was the only one where Milei took Massa to answer what he wanted. In this case they left the topic to return to retirements and AFJP. Going through the quarantine and the policy of restrictions in the pandemic. Thus, time was consumed, for a closing that had tribune chants