universal pensions and Mexican politics (update)

This updates a previous post on this subject.

For the record, the supporters of Andrés Manuel López Obrador – members of the centre-left PRD, Partido de la Revolución Democrática – in Mexico’s upper chamber (the Senate) introduced legislation last month that would provide a universal pension for all Mexicans from age 65, with no test for eligibility other than residence and age. The proposed pension is the same size as that of Mexico City’s universal pension – one-half of a minimum wage – but with an age of eligibility that is three years younger. Mexico has daily minimum wages that increase annually with consumer prices, and vary slightly by region. “One-half a minimum wage” in Mexico is calculated as 15 days of minimum wages per month, equal to MX$934.95 [US$73] in zone ‘A’, which includes Mexico City, MX$908.55 in zone ‘B’ and MX$886.20 in zone ‘C’. Differences between zones are supposed to reflect differences in the cost of living.

This pension would replace the federal 70+ pension, which is pension-tested (not universal), with a benefit that has remained at MX$500 a month since the scheme was introduced in 2007, with no adjustment for price inflation.

Andrés Manuel López Obrador, known as AMLO, introduced universal pensions to Mexico’s capital city in 2001, when he was Mayor. AMLO ran for president in 2006 and would have implemented universal pensions in all of Mexico had he won, but he lost narrowly to Felipe Calderón of the centre-right PAN (Partido Acción Nacional). He ran again in 2012 and polled second out of three major candidates, with 32% of the popular vote. Enrique Peña Nieto of the traditional PRI (Partido Revolucionario Institucional) won that election with 38% of the popular vote.

The PRD is a minority in both legislative chambers, so there is little chance that the proposed legislation will ever become law. It is promising, though, that four PRI senators joined their PRD colleagues to sponsor this initiative.

La Bancada del PRD [Partido de la Revolución Democrática] en el Senado presenta hoy su iniciativa para reformar la Ley de los Derechos de las Personas Adultas Mayores, a fin de instaurar en todo el país la pensión universal para adultos mayores, programa que inició su partido en la capital del país durante la gestión de Andrés Manuel López Obrador como jefe de gobierno.

En la iniciativa … se propone modificar [la Ley de los Derechos de las Personas Adultas Mayores en] el artículo 3o. en su fracción XII, para quedar como sigue:

“Pensión Universal para los Adultos Mayores: Apoyo económico mensual universal para adultos mayores de 65 años que no podrá ser menor a la mitad del salario mínimo general fijando por la Comisión Nacional de Salarios Mínimos de acuerdo al área geográfica donde resida el beneficiario”. ….

La forma como se hará valer la pensión universal será a través de un medio de pago electrónico o en su caso, pagos en efectivo. ….

Se plantea que el otorgamiento de la pensión universal sea compatible con el disfrute de otras pensiones, subsidios o ayudas otorgadas por instituciones de seguridad social y de asistencia social, así como por gobiernos estatales o municipales.

Angélica Mercado, “Propone PRD pensión universal de adultos mayores en todo el país“, Milenio, 18 September 2012.

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