Highlights – XVII

Image: Valeria Podes
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By BENICIO VIERO SCHMIDT*

Commentary on recent events

First, it is worth briefly mentioning the episode involving Senator Chico Rodrigues, caught with the money in his underwear. One more indicator that Brazilian democracy is decaying in increasingly eschatological meanings.

Right after the episode of the senator caught by the Federal Police with money in his private parts, the Minister of Economy – the all-powerful Paulo Guedes – made a webinar with XP Investimentos, in which he used low-slang words to define the possibility of recreating the CPMF, the tax that, although not his favorite option, will probably be implemented again as an attempt to solve the fiscal crisis. What should probably happen from that end of the year, right after the municipal elections.

The government froze comments, suggestions and assessments of fiscal policy during the election period. It can be said that this is a pre-announced manipulation of the popular will, as it is predictable that the government will enact policies that are quite harmful to certain sectors of society, affecting mainly the middle class, which pays twice for the use of services such as security , health and education – one via tax for the government, another for private providers.

With regard to the municipal elections, a note is in order: for the first time in a long time, they will be held without the possibility of a coalition in proportional elections. The coalitions remain only for the slates that run for municipal executive power. The aim is to reduce the number of political parties. However, in this election, the average across the country is seven parties in the municipal council dispute.

The existence of a large electoral fund and a respectable party fund makes candidates look for the biggest parties – the main beneficiaries of the public resources available for electoral campaigns. It is worth checking whether this does not constitute a counter-effect of the legislation. The big ones will again be favored by the fact that they are big, and receive big sums for the parties and candidates.

The stalemates over emergency aid continue and it seems that the stance of many deputies, including the Centrão, of postponing emergency aid for three months and only later discussing the sources of this funding will prevail. It seems evident, from the pronouncement of the Minister of Economy, and from the lack of alternatives within Congress that the CPMF will have to be recreated.

The American elections acquire a special meaning for Brazil, considering that next year the implementation of 5G in telecommunications and telemedia in general will begin. The Chinese company Huawei claims that it has been operating in Brazil for 30 years and that most operators work with its equipment, with its software and that, therefore, the impediment of its operations – which seems to be the preference of the Bolsonaro government – will lead to a major delay in the deployment of the 5G network in Brazil. Let's see.

*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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