When Alfonso Prat-Gay learned that he would be Mauricio Macri’s Minister of Economy, he went to see Juan Sourrouille, who had held that position with Raúl Alfonsín. It was the last stretch of 2015 and the Macri administration would soon begin.
– Giovanni, what advice would you give me?Prat-Gay guessed.
– I knew my president well. And you? how well do you know yours?
Prat-Gay did not respond. The speech has essentially passed through the channels of the economy.
The “ministers” were not alone.
In the name of Prat-Gay, Francisco Cabrera and Miguel Braun were gone. Cabrera would be the Minister of Productive Development of Macri (at that time he was from the City of Buenos Aires) and Braun, Secretary of Commerce. Weeks earlier, in a meeting at the Argentine Tennis Club, Cabrera had been Macri’s nexus by offering Prat-Gay as Minister of Economy (actually of the Treasury and Finance, configuring an atomization of decisions that would have immediate consequences).
On Sourrouille’s side were José Luis Machinea and Mario Brodersohn. Machinea had also been Minister of Economy under Fernando de la Rúa (1999-2001). But first he was part of Sourrouille’s team who, together with Brodersohn, drafted the Austral Plan that Raúl Alfonsín’s government launched in 1985, a date that is increasingly emerging in public talks on politics and economics hand in hand. of the screening of the film by Santiago Miter and starring Ricardo Darín ‘Argentina, 1985’two recent books on the former president (Raúl Alfonsín, the inverted planisphereby Pablo Gerchunoff, e Raúl Alfonsín, seen by his contemporaries of Juan Antonio Portesí) and also the aforementioned book by the political scientist Juan Carlos Torre Diary of a season on the fifth floorwhich tells the comings and goings of the Sourrouille team with Alfonsín.
The meeting between Macri’s and Alfonsín’s team took place in the Brodersohn office on Lavalle Street, of the Econometric consulting firm. There are three records of his development:
– for Prat-Gay, the meeting was of political and economic importance. The PRO had worked on the economic policy guidelines of the Fundación Pensar y felt that if he consulted UCR economists, the economic leadership would gain more legitimacy within the ruling coalition. From an economic point of view, Prat-Gay believed that the key to mitigating the initial rise in inflation after the corrections of tariffs and the dollar lay more from the policies of income and prices than from monetary policy. Something that Alfonsín’s team tested in Austral.
– Cabrera not only associated the image of Sourrouille-Machinea-Brodersohn with that of a team that ended with hyperinflation, but he also knew that Macri would not accept the idea of the social pact. To lower inflation, according to Fundación Pensar, there was no need to resort to any heterodox instrument of the 1980s but at the interest rate e Taylor’s rule. Nor did it coincide with the fact that calling Prat-Gay meant talking to radical economists, at least in that case.
–We call you as a prestigious professional that you are Alfonso, so as not to approach the economic team of a political sectorCabrera told the economist after the meeting.
– Sourrouille, Machinea and Brodersohn, after the meeting, confirmed the idea that what they could say or contribute financially was not enough to attract the attention of Cabrera or Braun. Perhaps the parameters of economic policy were already established. When Prat-Gay asked them what they thought about dividing the Ministry of Economy into Treasury and Finance, Machinea replied “It would be a mistake”.
This summer, in Cumelén, Macri read Diary of a season …. He became interested in various situations and scenes around the Southern Plain and of which he spoke with the author at Villa La Angostura. The IMF, inflation, the atomization of decisions. Many of these protagonists were the ones that Prat-Gay consulted in 2015.
Those who surround Macri today admit that they do not know if it will be presented in 2023. But they are convinced that the economic situation will be more complex than in 2015. Ergo, it is no longer enough to stabilize inflation above 100% using a single tool such as the tariff policy attempted by Federico Sturzenegger. The idea of a stabilization plan appears. Macri speaks with Luciano Laspina, Hernán Lacunza, Carlos Melconian and Nicolás Dujovne.
Prat-Gay claims the defense he made and is making of his government (“He’s got balls, Alfonso”) and that, as Machinea said in 2015, the Ministry of Economy must be unified.
For his part, Prat-Gay perhaps complained that he did not fully take the advice that Sourrouille gave him: “How well do you know your president?”.
Alfonsín’s former minister had counted more than 1,000 dinners in Olivos. Prat-Gay has only recorded two heads-ups with Macri. “The Minister of Economy and the President must play from memory”. It appears to be a lesson from 1985.