When Argentina's Senate votes this week on nationalizing $24 billion in pension funds, it will try to bar the government from using the money to pay off mounting debt or fund ongoing expenses.
If history is any guide, President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner will do whatever she wants, wielding the presidency's broad powers and her Peronist party's control of Congress.
``There's an entire system to make sure those limits won't work,'' said opposition Senator Maria Eugenia Estenssoro. ``Her supporters will dominate the oversight panel for the funds, and she can shift budgets by decree. The government wants this money to cover the deficit and boost spending for next year's congressional elections, and they'll get it.''
When Fernandez announced her plan to take over 10 private pension funds on Oct. 21, she said the goal was to protect retirees from the global financial crisis.>>>MORE