Monday, November 30, 2020

Association of Economists evaluates parties’ economic platforms

By on October 27, 2020

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SAN JUAN — The Puerto Rico Economists Association (AEPR by its Spanish initials) announced the results of an evaluation of the economic platforms of the political parties and the independent candidate that are running for election Tuesday, November 3.

At least two of the platforms were found to be satisfactory, but most are deficient or poor in relation to the evaluation criteria.

According to the report of results, findings and recommendations: Evaluation of the economic proposals of the political parties and the independent candidate presented by the organization, the platforms “are reduced to a list of ideas, which, although nice and even necessary, do not contain the minimal planning that allows its viability to be recognized.”

“One of our organization’s objectives is to participate in the discussion of transcendental matters for the Country and to contribute in the search for solutions to economic problems. This report reflects an objective analysis with serious metrics for the evaluation of economic proposal,” AEPR President Alba Brugueras Fabre said in a press release. “We also want to reaffirm our commitment to nonpartisan, data-centric public affairs discussions,” she added.

For its evaluation, AEPR adapted for to Puerto Rico criteria developed by the Latin American Research Initiative for Public Policies (ILAIPP) from the “Electoral Platforms: Strengthening the capacities to influence the electoral cycle” series.

The analysis consisted of applying the aforementioned evaluation tool to the economic proposals of the candidates for governor in the context of the election campaign, in relation to the economic challenges Puerto Rico faces.

The most important challenges, the AEPR said, are related to the environment, demographic changes, education, public debt, physical and technological infrastructure, government institutions, investment, poverty and economic inequality, health and the labor market.

The highest possible score for the evaluation was five points.

According to the document presented by the AEPR, the highest score was 3.4, for the platform of the Popular Democratic Party (PDP); followed by the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP), with a score of 3.1, both with a satisfactory rating. These are followed by the Movimiento Victoria Ciudadana (MVC), with 2.3; the Dignity Project (PD) with 2.0, the New Progressive Party (NPP), with 1.9, and the independent candidate with 1.4. The latter four are rated from deficient to poor.

The evaluation consisted of the application of three criteria: 1) focus, 2) structure and feasibility, and 3) accountability. In the first criterion, only two proposals were rated as good. For the second criterion, three proposals were satisfactory, while, in the third criterion, four of the proposals were rated as deficient or poor.

For the economists, the absence of specific, significant, measurable, affordable, real and time-defined objectives did not allow verifying the validity of these proposals effectively.

“When you write specific goals and objectives, you add value to the financial proposals. This allows you to effectively manage your time, budget and available resources. In addition, a clear definition allows you to evaluate progress and make timely changes. The goals can be focused on increasing, developing, creating, improving, or promoting the efficient use of resources, but they can also be aimed at reducing and saving resources,” the report reads.

The AEPR also made specific recommendations to address the economic challenges. Among them, designing a policy of foreign and local capital under equal conditions.

The economists also proposed to attract companies that are dedicated to research, development and innovation and in turn create a fund to invest in research with investment from these companies; and to demand an audit of the debt and negotiate a haircut. In addition, to prioritize healthcare through the design of a new model.

“After the great challenges we have faced as a country— hurricanes, earthquakes, pandemic, debt, among others—we deserve more from those who aspire to govern Puerto Rico for the next four years. We deserve something more than satisfactory or achieving the bare minimum. The country needs real, executable plans and that their results are measurable and comparable. We deserve no less,” Brugueras Fabre stressed.

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