Labor

Rubio's Top Finance Guy is the "Vulture" Who Soaked Argentina for $4.65 Billion

Meet Paul Singer.

Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio has tapped as his national finance chairman the “Vulture” who put the squeeze on Argentina for a $4.65 billion payback on his $50 million investment, according to investigative journalist Greg Palast, The Guardian, and other press reports.

Hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer, known as “The Vulture”, is set to become Rubio’s top money guy in a campaign that may reach its demise soon if the Florida senator can’t win the primary in his native state.

Singer, long a huge supporter of Rubio’s campaign, has been criticized around the world for his aggressive wheeling and dealing, both on Wall Street and in political circles, including his financial backing of neo-liberal Mauricio Macri’s rise to the presidency in Argentina.

Macri came into office vowing to respond to Argentina’s indebtedness to international lenders, which has led to major financial crises in the South American country. According to reports, Singer was able to score a $4.65 billion payment from Argentina out of a $50 million investment in old Argentine bonds.

Labor South--and a big thanks to one of this blog's most loyal followers and best labor friends, Lew Smith, for helping the blog stay on top of this issue--has been following the situation in Argentina since last November, when voters went to the polls to choose between the Perónist Daniel Scioli and Macri for president.

Macri won the election, ending 12 years of pro-worker, neo-Perónist rule. Now just months later, people are in the streets demonstrating against the resumption of neo-liberal “austerity” principles that helped ruin the Argentine economy in 2001 and which are still wreaking havoc in Greece and other European economies. It’s the same old free-trade-at-all-costs, corporate-worshipping philosophy that further enriches the rich at the expense of working people.

According to labor leaders in Argentina, Macri has overseen a 500 percent hike in electricity rates and a 10-to-15 percent decline in wage purchasing power. Some 40,000 public and private workers have been fired or seen their jobs discontinued since Macri took over in December.

Half of the 22,500 now-jobless workers in the private sector had construction jobs.


Macri, former mayor of Buenos Aires, has vowed to restructure the nation’s finances to meet its indebtedness to international lenders, and, of course, the neo-liberal mantra for meeting such goals calls for reduced government programs and, in turn, reduced worker wages and benefits as well as resistance to the unions that try to protect those wages and benefits.

Joseph B. Atkins is a veteran journalist who writes on labor and other issues. A professor of journalism at the University of Mississippi, Atkins is author of Covering for the Bosses: Labor and the Southern Press (University Press of Mississippi, 2008), and his blog is http://www.laborsouth.blogspot.com.

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