Highlights – VIII

Carlos Zilio, A QUEDA, 1970, felt-tip pen on paper, 47x32,5
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By BENICIO VIERO SCHMIDT*

Comments on recent events

The Tax Reform bill sent by the government to the National Congress creates a tax on goods and services at an average rate of 12%. It is a contribution on services that are mostly present in the home of all Brazilians, including expenses with health, hospitals, education and books – currently tax-free. This proposal fundamentally affects the middle class that pays for these services and is still taxed in federal, state and municipal taxes.

The project assumes the possibility of changing the form of contribution to income tax in a second stage, reducing taxation on companies and taxing dividends, which is a way to increase collection, increasing the tax burden, which is already an incredible 32% of the country's GDP. Exports would be completely exempt and imports would incur the contribution of goods and services, therefore, they will be taxed.

The congressional commission responsible for Tax Reform has until the end of October to deliver the report. In summary, it can be said that this Tax Reform project has just begun its trajectory in parliament and that it basically, synthetically, affects the middle class, favors industry and affects the service sector, which will pay dearly for its expansion.

Six hundred Ibama employees presented a technical document to the vice-president, Hamilton Mourão, to guide work in the Amazon. There are no responses regarding the receipt of this document. International pressure continues on part of the large trades of Brazilian and international trade that are more directly linked to the issue of the environment, operating especially in the Amazon.

It is also worth noting – in relation to the environment and other policies of a social nature – the protest of 152 Brazilian bishops, in a document not yet endorsed by the National Confederation of Bishops of Brazil. The CNBB will still evaluate the content of the document. In any case, the original document of these 152 bishops was released widely with full public knowledge.

There is also a lawsuit under Bolsonaro's alleged genocide before the International Court in The Hague, Netherlands. No more dramatic outcome is expected. Anyway, it remains as a petition, as a protest against the antisocial and anti-environmental policies of the Brazilian government.

The print media disclosed the existence of an investigation by the Secretariat of Integrated Operations of the Ministry of Justice that listed 579 public and state officials as anti-fascists, as enemies of public order, enemies of the State. This is a very dangerous and sensitive investigation, which should be the target of many antagonisms from now on.

Within this framework of growing antagonisms is the positioning of the members of the Lava Jato operation in Paraná against the Federal Supreme Court. Minister Dias Toffoli granted an injunction favorable to the unification of information under the custody of the Attorney General's Office. This decision generated heated reactions from the Lava Jato unit based in Curitiba. This unit – currently commanded by prosecutor Deltan Dallagnol – achieved autonomy in relation to the functioning of the “iron laws” of the bureaucratic oligarchy. Autonomy that has been pruned since the Attorney General's Office came to be directed by Augusto Arras in actions that have the support of the Federal Supreme Court.

Added to this is a series of accusations about customs and uses of the Supreme Court and recent interference by the Attorney General's Office and the Attorney General's Office of the Republic in Lava Jato. In any case, the outcome is still unknown, but what is most likely to happen is a decrease in the importance of Lava Jato, which was constituted as an autonomous community for investigating corruption allegations in Brazil.

After the sudden resignation of Rubem Novais, president of Banco do Brasil, the existence of a negotiation between Banco do Brasil and BTG Pactual came to light, through which BB sold a loan portfolio of 3 billion reais for only 370 million reais, without bidding, without consulting, without anything else. Obviously, this operation casts suspicion on the exemption of Paulo Guedes as Minister of Economy, as he was one of the founders of BTG Pactual.

*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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