• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Economic Freedom Remains Elusive to Our Neighbors to the South

    Mexican President Felipe Calderon

    Mexican President, Felipe Calderon, is set to address a joint session of Congress today to address issues of mutual interest on both sides of our almost two thousand mile border.  Among the issues that will likely dominate Calderon’s prepared remarks will include the ongoing drug violence engulfing Mexico and threatening to spill over to our border states even more.

    But beyond this critical issue of mutual concern, rest assured that Mr. Calderon will use this opportunity to speak about immigration.  Mr. Calderon will likely talk about the thousands of men, women and even children that die every year in the US-Mexico border yearning for an opportunity to live in our country.  But what Mr. Calderon will likely not tell us is how true economic freedom remains elusive for the vast majority of his citizens.

    This claim is validated in our most recent Index of Economic Freedom that pegs Mexico in the 41st position.  Despite modest improvements in many of the ten key economic indicators in our Index, economic underdevelopment continues to plague Mexico. As the authors of the Index write, “Mexico’s overall economic freedom remains limited by lingering institutional weaknesses that include considerable corruption and a rigid labor market.  The judicial system is slow to resolve cases and vulnerable to corruption.  The rule of law is undermined by drug cartels and kidnapping.”

    Additionally, as reported in this Heritage Foundation research paper, monopolies and duopolies in various key industries hamper economic freedom – stifling innovation and entrepreneurship.

    Under this light, it is not surprising that many of Mexico’s citizens look to the north for economic opportunity and a higher quality of life.  To be fair, Mexican President Felipe Calderon has spoke about the need for Mexico to retain more its citizens and curtail the seemingly endless exodus to the United States.  Nonetheless, it is clear that more is needed than lofty rhetoric if Mexico is to be successful stemming the flow of undocumented workers to our shores.

    Of course, we too have an obligation to strengthen cooperation by reaffirming our commitment to trade and shunning protectionist policies.  Unfortunately, this Administration has shown a willingness to placate the demands of the labor unions in the past as seen in last summer’s decision to pull funding for the Mexican truck program – aimed at facilitating trade between the two countries.

    President Calderon no doubt faces a number of challenges, none more than reducing drug violence, but if he is serious about reducing the number of Mexicans looking to the United States for economic opportunities, he will need to take on the entrenched interests in Mexico.  The energy and telecommunications industries are in serious need of competition, and if opened to increased competition could prove vital in creating jobs in Mexico for thousands of well qualified Mexican professionals.

    In short, only by empowering the Mexican people with increased economic opportunities, while resisting the lure of failed statist economic policies, will Calderon be able to provide his citizens the chance for a better life at home.  Unfortunately, for all too many Mexicans, that seems possible now only in their neighbor to the north.

    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    8 Responses to Economic Freedom Remains Elusive to Our Neighbors to the South

    1. MJF, CT says:

      How disgusting! President Calderon stands on our soil, insults our people in Arizona and the rest of the United States then President Obama agrees with him! Add to that President Obama almost sounds like he wants to dissolve the boarder between Mexico and the United States. This President (Obama) has GOT to go!

      PS: I'd like to see President Calderon make a trip to Arizona. I'm sure that people of that State would love to show him a few things!

    2. Ron, Cinci Ohio says:

      President Calderon should be concerned about his citizens leaving Mexico. Somebody should address him on his laws regarding illegals sneaking into Mexico. I don't understand how our Federal Govt can allow illegals to sneak into the USA with Home Land Security now implemented.. Illegals are Illegals, why can't the Federal Govt admit this and stop it. They have to come through the front door. We should also change the law regarding babies born in the USA from illegals from being US citizens. Let's get a hold of our Laws and control our borders. There isn't any other country in the world as porious as the USA. We just get stepped on and stepped on. Tell the our President and the other countries he's holding hands with. To stop knocking the USA Rights and Laws.

    3. John, Alexandria, VA says:

      In light of President Obama's recent comments regarding Arizona's immigration law, and Felipe Calderon's tacit agreement, I think the following quotation is appropriate: "Mexico certainly has [the] right to control who enters its borders, and to expel foreigners who break its laws. The Mexican constitution is designed to give the strongest protections possible to the country's national security. . . However, since [Felipe Calderon] is demanding that the United States ignore, alter or abolish its own immigration laws, [he has] opened [Mexico's] internal affairs to American scrutiny. The time has come to examine Mexico's own glass house." J. Michael Waller, Center for Security Policy

    4. Alvin Brooks JR says:

      Illegal workers have taken over the construction industry. I have been a brickmason for over 20 years. Ihave seen many downturns in the economy.Ihave never seen a time where with most of the construction coming from Government contracts, I can't work. I guess I earn too much money?I have been told to lower my pay standards so I would be more competitve.Why should I have to work in my Country, for 3rd world wages. so I am now in my third week of unemployment.When it becomes illegal to hire illegals I can go back to work.earning an American wage.

    5. Lynn Bryant DeSpain says:

      The main issue, problem, with Mexico, our neighbor to the ssouth, is corruption. With the aid of the United States, the corrupt Mexican Government has kept its citizens poor by inducing in them the demand for increased child production, supplying the drug cartells with arms, protecting the same, keeping the poor, very poor, and the rich, very rich. Nothing has changed in Mexico, since Spain first entered it, and before.

      Perhaps their problem is unsolvable, in that it lies within the the mentality of their people to remain poor and under the thumb of overbearing rulers, while blaming all of thier woes on others.

      I caught Mexico's Presidents speach from the White House, and the very first thing he did was to insult all of America and blame all of Mexico's ills on us. Sounds very familiar and just like passing the buck to me.

      He made reference, along eith Obama to Arizona's racist Immigration Law. Neither have read that law or otherwise they would have realized that it simply says, "We will enforce the United States Federal Law on Illegal Immigration."

    6. Carol, AZ says:

      The plan is to make more Dems in 2012.

      That is after all

      the only way this up-start thinks he will ever get re-elected.

      To for the gentleman's who's comments about illegals taking over the trades in his state.

      We passed e-verify here in AZ.requiring all business to check for legals status for any job.

      I would hope you will also get pro-active in your state to do the same with your fellow brick-layers.


      it is against the law to hire illegals for any Federal Gov't contracts work.

      If your state is ignoring this legal process hiring illegals instead of hiring Americans look into the laws in your state.

      My husband hired someone recently and when they did the background check it was found that someone has stolen his SS # and was working here for one year with false douc. to get a job. .

      The illegals work history came up on the background check of the new hire.

      Naturally NIS arrested him and he is now deported

      There are many layers to this issue.

      The last time Obama meet with Calderon it was in MX.

      Az requested increased border patrols,

      Homeland Secuiry to order-in the National Guard to our border,

      increased military hardward,;(i.e; drone aircaft), and funds to finish the fence.

      We got nothing from the Federal Gov"T and Obama gave Mexico's an gifted Calderon $$$ to help fund his drug war there.

      The Border Patrols here in AZ now report

      that drone aircraft are utilized by the drug cartels to drop loads in remote areas in the AZ desert.

      You can understnd since we are fighting this fight for the security of all of America we are ticked off. ,

      60 % off all illegals enter through AZ. .

      You can also understand we are ticked-off since te press assured the rest of America we will " hunt down people" and profile racially.

      When asked :

      Att. General Eric Holder , admitted he never read a copy of this well crafted bill. Senate bill 1070, as well as Homeland Securtiy ,Janet N.

      That my friend should allow you

      and the rest of America to sleep well tonight..

    7. Jeanne Stotler, wood says:

      My one son is a painter and remodels house, he's talented, but has lowered his fees down where he barely gets by, WHY?, he competes with illegals, they don't pay taxes, unemployment nor health care. Another son is a painter and his boss is facing the same thing. Recently Verizon put in VIOS, cables were laid by a large crew, those here with exception of one could not speak English, the work they did was not neat and the trash they left from their lunch was alot.

    8. Billie says:

      Educators Obama, paid by the people educators and Calderon and the American president, call racists. Teaching the public that “white capitalists are oppressing Mexicans.”

      They identified a specific skin color of capitalists which leads to the truth of America, that any skin color can be capitalists. So the oppression is by direction and or choice. They support socialism which means they don't support freedom or individual potential.

      I pray for the people to see through these hate mongering people and all of the like minded. I pray for immigrants to choose America with good intention and legally. And to see what an unfair burden the American government is putting on the innocent, as the true racists is the American government, democrat party!

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.