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    A state worker holds up a sign that reads "We don't have an account in Panama" during a protest against layoffs outside the Labor Ministry in Buenos Aires. | Photo: Reuters

Published 22 May 2016

Argentine unions have called for protests of Macri's decision to veto the bill as low-income people continue to feel the squeeze.

Now that President Mauricio Macri has vetoed an anti-layoffs law aimed at putting a stop to a wave of mass dismissals in the public and private sectors, Argentina's head of state has turned his attention to other economic policies, including tax breaks for business, local media reported Sunday.

154,000 Argentine Workers Have Lost Their Jobs Under Macri

The plan include a promise not to raise taxes in the name of helping small and medium-sized businesses and other tax reforms, the Argentine daily La Nacion reported.

The tax breaks and reforms are aimed at offering incentives to bring millions of dollars that are hidden outside of the system back into the Argentine economy for investment in local finance, construction, or other projects, La Nacion reported.

Macri himself has been embroiled in accusations of tax dodging after being implicated in the Panama Papers, which revealed that the president operated an offshore account through the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. Members of Macri’s family have also been implicated in hiding wealth in offshore tax havens.

The government’s focus on rolling out economic proposals comes after the president vetoed the anti-layoffs bill after it passed in the senate, which would have blocked layoffs for 180 days through a declared labor emergency.

Macri Denies Massive Layoffs in the Works in Argentina

“In one year we will start to see the fruits of this pass that we have started to take,” Macri said of his economic plans for the country upon announcing his veto.

As a result, Argentina's main unions decided to organize a protest or a national strike as a response to the presidential veto during a meeting on Saturday night in the coastal city of Mar de la Plata — a final vote was scheduled in the following days.

According to a report by Argentina’s Pagina 12, at least 27 economists in various positions in Macri’s government—from the ministry of finance and Central Bank to the ministry of social development and social security office — have connections to Wall Street.

The close links to the halls of global economic power are expected to have a big impact on Argentina’s policy agenda.

More than 154,000 people lost their jobs in the first five months of Macri’s administration, while inflation and the price of utilities and the basic services have skyrocketed, worsening the pinch already felt by workers.

Macri was elected last year on promises to boost trade and investment by cozying up to the United States and European Union while casting aside the Latin American regional integration project championed by his left-wing predecessors.

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