While politicians from Athens to Washington are pushing through devastating austerity programs, Argentines voted in droves Sunday to re-elect their populist, welfare queen of a president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

Fernandez is the widow of Nestor Kirchner, who died a year ago after winning the award for world’s best husband (Nestor decided not to run for re-election so that his wife could take a turn).

But before he left office, Nestor Kirchner infuriated global elites by defaulting on Argentina’s $95 billion foreign debt. Greece, facing an external debt load five to six times that amount, has decided instead to severely cut back on public spending while it works with other governments to address its debt crisis.

Argentina, on the other hand, pumped money into subsidies and social programs. And while the rest of the world has been circling the drain, financially speaking, Argentina’s economy has been booming, with GDP growing last year by more than 9 percent.

There are a lot of learned fellows who don’t approve of the economic policies of Nestor and Cristina Kirchner, but the undisputed result in the short term is a thriving economy and a landslide re-election. −PZS

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