Highlights – IX

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Comments on recent events

A first highlight these days is the giant fight between the Attorney General's Office, the STF and the Lava Jato task force in Curitiba. Everything leads to believe that the most markedly majority interests, including within the STF, lead to the non-renewal of the mandate of the task force. The consequences of this will be immense, especially in relation to the first and second instances, which will be summoned to judge the pending cases.

The second highlight is the departure of the MDB and DEM from Centrão. It is not only the evident implication in relation to the election to the Presidency of the Chamber of Deputies. It is also a preliminary preliminary strategic adjustment aimed at the 2022 presidential elections. The departure of the DEM and the MDB from the ruling bloc opens up a flank that almost automatically guarantees the election of a mayor who is not submissive to Jair Bolsonaro, that constitutes, like Rodrigo Maia today, a pole of resistance to the Presidency of the Republic. The departure of the DEM and the MDB signals this, but it also signals possible new alliances, unusual for 2022. It is an absolutely essential fact in the conjuncture.

The third issue is the star of this week and last week, Tax Reform. The meetings of the Joint Committee, previously postponed, were resumed. The Minister of Economy promised to present to the National Congress the reform projects of the income tax, the rates and the incidence of taxes on dividends and corporate profits.

This measure is eagerly awaited because, so far, the government draft does not go beyond the proposal for the unification of PIS and COFINS taxes and the creation of the contribution on goods and services. This contribution, if approved, will charge services consumed by the middle and upper classes in Brazil, such as education, private health and so on. As Everardo Maciel said, this is a reform that aims to punish the middle classes and defend luxury cars for the richest.

Finally, it remains to be noted the recurrence of fires in the Amazon, lately complemented by monumental fires in the Pantanal area. This shows that the National Commission for the Legal Amazon has had little effect on the devastation of the Brazilian environmental territory.

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

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