Two days ago we first posted a Youtube clip in which a Greek reporter asked Argentina's Economy Minister Hernan Lorenzino a simple question: "what is inflation in Argentina" - a sensitive topic to a country with price and capital controls, and where inflation ranges between 0 and 20% depending on whether one uses official, or unofficial but based on reality, data. The result was a why we dubbed the clip "Thursday humor" as after several minutes of meandering gibberish, Lorenzino concluded by telling his aided that "he wants to leave", which in turn promptly became a twitter hashtag meme #mequieroir, in which the minister's response to a simple request for the truth was promptly lampooned around the world. However, that may have been just the beginning of Hernan's problems. As Bloomberg reports, citing Clarin, Argentina's president CFK, was also quite taken aback by the bumbling economist that she met with him subsequent to the interview going viral, and told him he has lost credibility and the most likely next step is his resignation.
Argentine Economy Minister Hernan Lorenzino’s appearance on Greek television in which he abruptly ended an interview and refused to speak about inflation in Argentina has spurred speculation he may quit, Clarin newspaper reported, without citing its sources.
President Fernandez met with Lorenzino to express her concern that he lost credibility among voters after he told an aide at the interview that he wanted “to go” after the reporter asked what he planned to do if the IMF sanctioned the country for not improving its inflation index, Clarin said.
Deputy Eco. Minister Kicillof would replace Lorenzino, Clarin said, without citing anyone
Kathimerini has some more information on the events that had taken place in late 2012, but were only broadcast this week, leading to the hilarious fallout.
Bothered by a Greek reporter’s repeated requests to release Argentinas true inflation rate, Economy Minister Hernan Lorenzino interrupted an interview, saying the issue is too "complex" to explore and telling an aide "I want to leave."
A video of the interview surfaced Tuesday and quickly became the talk of Argentine social networks. On Twitter, the hashtag #mequieroir (#iwanttoleave) was constantly retweeted, and the video of the visibly uncomfortable minister played repeatedly on Argentine television news stations that aren’t aligned with the government. Someone even put his voice to a cumbia beat, mashed it up with the Peronist March and posted the music video on YouTube.
Lorenzino didn’t respond to the display of dark Argentine humor at his expense. His press office told AP that the ministry had no reaction, and his Twitter account was quiet.
Lorenzino granted the interview in his ministry headquarters to Eleni Varvitsiotis late last year, but the Greek channel Skai TV didn’t broadcast it until Tuesday, as part of a documentary comparing Argentinas 2001 economic crisis to the situation in Greece.
Private economic analysts have said Argentinas consumer prices rose about 26 percent in 2012, more than twice the 10.8 percent published by the government’s inflation index, whose accuracy has been publicly rejected by the International Monetary Foundation.
"I have a very simple question for you, which seems very complicated these days: How much is Argentine inflation at this moment?" she asked.
"Official statistics show month after month the inflation and this is the only inflation possible," the minister responded in Spanish.
"But, how much is it?" she insisted.
Increasingly uncomfortable, Lorenzino said "I think the cumulative inflation over the last 12 months is 10.2 percent; I might be off by a decimal."
The journalist then noted that the IMF has warned that it will impose sanctions against Argentina for putting out false statistics. "What will you do about that?" "I don’t know, I don’t know. Can we turn off the camera a moment? I want to leave," Lorenzino said.
The rest of the encounter was captured on audio. Lorenzino can be heard telling the reporter, "Talking about inflation statistics in Argentina is complex. ... Id rather leave it with the last thing I said and not go on about it."
Lorenzino then leaves, and an aide can be heard telling the reporter: "We never speak about inflation, not even with the Argentine media."
But "price increases are the main topic of the economy now," she protests. "Everyone in the street is saying theres high inflation. It’s not possible that I not ask about it. If not, Im not doing my job."
And for those who missed it, here is the video again:
Ahhh - economics. The biggest, most profound, and most deadly joke of a non-science imaginable.
One can only hope more and more charlatans are unmasked, just like Hernan, and proceed to take their rightful place: at the unemployment office line, which is now the longest it has ever been in the modern era across all developed nations, precisely due the flawed and failed "policies" of such "academics" as Hernan. Of course that would (eventually) result in an economist finally doing an honest day's work for once, which as all know, is next to impossible.
What we don't understand is why an openly embarrassing interview in Argentina will lead to the termination of their economics minister, yet in the US Paul Krugman grants numerous interviews daily, and has countless blog posts, all of which transcend the merely laughable and tweet mime-inducing, and cross into the grossly surreal, and yet his "reputation" is still intact. Alas, some things that make sense even in Argentina appear far too complicated to be grasped in the US of A.