Certainly there are many poor people in Mexico, since perhaps half the country lives in poverty. However, the nation as a whole is quite rich see the documented facts listed below and could well finance the sort of improvements in education and infrastructure that would better the living standards of all Mexicans. But the Mexican ultra-rich, like telecommunications magnate Carlos Slim shown here, don't like to tax themselves for investment the country badly needs for infrastructure and education, and it helps them greatly that the American taxpayer has been forced to support Mexicans living in the United States.
Every dollar spent in U.S. taxes for social services for illegal aliens frees up additional cash to be sent south as part of the annual remittances which now provide the second highest source of foreign income for Mexico, over $16 billion in 2004. According to the CNN news show Lou Dobbs Tonight (3/21/05), "Remittances, as they're called, are expected to become Mexico's primary source of income this year, surpassing the amount of money that Mexico makes on oil exports for the first time ever."
So when el Presidente Vicente Fox complains that the "dignity" of Mexicans living illegally in America requires that they receive free healthcare on the U.S. taxpayer's dime, he is really talking about increased remittances to keep their whole corrupt system afloat.
Consider these relevent facts:
Mexico has the highest Gross Domestic Product in Latin America, substantially higher than runner-up Brazil.
When measured in GDP per capita, Mexico ranks #1 also, ahead of Chile and Venezuela.
According to Forbes magazine, nearly half, 11 out of 24, of Latin American billionaires are Mexican in 2004.
Mexico raises less revenue through taxation than nearly any other Latin American country, just 12 percent which is one reason why the nation's wealth is not better utilized. By comparison, the United States takes in 25-28 percent of its gross domestic profit in taxes. Even Brazil taxes itself at twice the Mexican rate.
Economist Gary Hufbauer of the Institute for International Economics has remarked, "It's up to Mexico to solve its problem, and basically the wealthy classes do not want to tax themselves, period. While I'm not usually an advocate for larger government, Mexico is a country where public investment, done wisely, could pay huge dividends."
Mexico expert Prof. George Grayson of William and Mary College calls Mexico an "immensely wealthy nation."
Mexico's economy is the world's tenth largest.
When the ruling party needed a hefty sum for the 1994 election, Presidente Salinas leaned on a group of rich businessmen to write $25 million checks each at an infamous dinner party, where contributions totaled a staggering $750 million by evening's end. Compare that with the measly $150 million campaign chest in spring 2004 that President Bush had accumulated after three years in office.
Freedom House notes the cost of corruption: "According a recent study by the Mexico chapter of Transparency International, some $2.3 billion-approximately 1 percent-of the country's economic production goes to officials in bribes, with the poorest families paying nearly 14 percent of their income in bribes."
Ricas y Famosas Rich and Famous is a book of photos that takes a peek at the hidden world of the Mexican ultra-rich. Photographer Daniela Rossell used her membership in the exclusive club to reveal the decadent lifestyles of blonde women in gold lamι. It is a shocking view of the most extreme ostentatious wealth among great poverty.
Sure Things in Mexico: Death, Taxes and Evasion
According the recent rankings released from the IMD International, the Switzerland-based International Institute for Management Development placed Mexico at 56 out of 60 economies examined, largely because of a dearth of investment in everything from infrastructure to education. Due to its pathetic tax collection, Mexico cannot even buy schoolbooks or pay its police enough to live on, much less invest in its future.
Lou Dobbs Tonight Transcript (12/16/04)
The CNN news show shines a light on Mexican wealth. Particularly noteworthy is Prof. Grayson's remark: "There is a small economic elite who live like maharajas, and there's a political elite that protects them. Our border provides an escape valve which really lets the Mexican political and economic elite off the hook in terms of providing opportunities for their own people."