November 21, 2008

Argentina moves to nationalize pensions

Argentina's Senate approved a measure nationalizing private pension funds to protect about $25 billion from the global financial crisis, a lawmaker said.

President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner proposed nationalizing the private pension system in October, The Washington Post reported Friday.

Critics said the Argentine government was trying to seize control of the funds to prop up its own finances, the Post reported. Senators approved the measure on a 46 to 18 vote after 12 hours of debate.

The private system never achieved what was needed. This project will permit us to undo a path of errors that were committed. It will be a difficult path, but a brave one, said Sen. Julio Miranda of Tucuman, who voted to approve the bill.

A nationalized pension system would even out payments, which had gone up and down depending on market fluctuations, the newspaper said.

Before the measure passed Claudio Loser, a senior fellow at the Inter-American Dialogue called the proposal one of the most blatant acts of financial piracy in the country's recent history.

The move would eliminate individual savings "¦ with large funds that could be spent almost freely by the Argentine government, Loser wrote in the Latin American Adviser, a newsletter.