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As Libertarian Javier Milei prepares to take office Dec. 10 as Argentina’s next President, people are asking what happened to the madman who claimed he would make the county the bastion of liberalism and freedom and extirpate the “political caste”—the political class—that had destroyed the country. Going into his inauguration, Milei has dropped his plan for dollarization; he will no longer close the Central Bank as he promised. He has put privatization of state sector companies on hold until 2025 and will not immediately dismantle the exchange controls that have been in place since 2018. And, lo and behold, most of his cabinet is made up of the hated members of the “political caste.”

Does that mean he’ll do anything good? No. On Dec. 11, he plans to present a package of bills to Congress, which will be an economic shock plan—"modernization of the state,” shrinking it, slashing the budget, firing personnel from ministries, the number of which has already been reduced from 19 to 8. This will cause real suffering.

The expectation is that Milei will announce a devaluation next Monday, Dec. 11, possibly as high as 44%, Bloomberg estimates, although it could be lower. This will wreak havoc with prices, which are already exorbitant, and with living standards. The plan is to increase exports and foreign reserves, but the big question is how the government plans to pay the IMF since it is shut out of most lending markets. The IMF’s Extended Fund Facility that was renegotiated by Finance Minister Sergio Massa last May will have to be renegotiated once more, since none of the Fund’s conditionalities have been met since then. New Finance Minister Luis Caputo, a Wall Street guy, is supposed to be doing some fancy footwork to get the Fund to cough up some money, but it’s not looking hopeful.