The Brazilian Scene – XVIII

Image: C. Cagnin
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By BENÍCIO VIERO SCHMIDT*

Comments on recent events

The environment created by the Federal Senate’s Covid CPI has been a place for collecting documents and dispersed information that are far beyond its processing capacity. However, the extension of its operating period for another 90 days, as well as the activism of the Federal Public Ministry and the STF, bring hope for the investigation of due responsibilities and probable crimes of responsibility on the part of civil, religious and military authorities in the processes for purchasing and administering vaccines in the national territory.

Corroborating hypotheses that support the growing militarization of the federal government, each day of the CPI of the pandemic reveals new suspicions of the participation of high military ranks in the negotiations for the purchase of vaccines. In the present case, actions ranging from intermediation to the purchase of vaccines, as well as their transportation. Being part of the broader bureaucratic structure, the Armed Forces project themselves through the effective activity of officers such as pressure group, able to guarantee pecuniary advantages in the intermediation of purchases by the State. A serious case that certainly brings apprehension, insecurity and uncertainty to the representative political system.

As for tax reform, the partial report by Deputy Celso Sabino (PSDB-PA), regarding income tax, according to Minister Paulo Guedes, does not increase the tax burden, as he claims has been the government's position since the election campaign. For, as taxes on profits and dividends are increased, taxes on companies and wage earners are reduced.

However, pressure from business interests in a special way should result in many changes to the original tax reform project presented by the government. The changes in the project also include a cut from 15% to 2,5% in corporate income tax and the withdrawal of taxation from Real Estate Funds. This points to a reduction in the tax burden and collection in the range of R$ 30 billion. It is also likely that the taxation of dividends will increase from 20% to 15%, following an international logic of charging operations linked to profits and distribution of dividends.

The National Congress approved this Thursday (July 15) the budgetary guidelines bill (LDO) for 2022, with a forecast of a deficit of R$ 107,47 billion for the Union's Fiscal and Social Security Budget, besides one party fund raised to R$ 5,7 billion; whose main beneficiaries will be the PSL and the PT. The rapporteur's amendments, origin of the so-called secret budget, were maintained", now under the scrutiny of the STF.

It should be noted that these resources directly to political parties will be linked to the election fund, dedicated exclusively to candidates' expenses in elections In 2020, in the municipal elections, R$ 2 billion were allocated to the 33 parties registered in Brazil.

Part of the conservative agenda, the Federal Chamber approved (14/7) the Principal's Law: the possibility for the clubs hosting the game to have the prerogative to negotiate their broadcasting rights, regardless of contracts signed by the visitors. Approved (432 x 17 votes); goes to the appreciation of the Federal Senate.

Moreover, public opinion awaits the media unfolding of Bolsonaro's hospitalization in a hospital in São Paulo, as well as the unfolding of the increasingly complicated web of interests in the Ministry of Health, involving figures of presidential intimacy, pastors and the military.

*Benicio Viero Schmidt is a retired professor of sociology at UnB and a consultant for Empower Consult. Author, among other books, of The State and urban policy in Brazil (LP&M).

 

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