The scandal of the PEC of precatories

Image: Anthony Macajone


PEC dismantles Bolsa Família to create electoral aid and adopts open vote buying to ensure its approval

The country always moves in the opposite direction to the course it should follow. With each decision and political operation by the Bolsonaro government, the prospects for 2022 and for the future become worse. Nothing will be left standing and the next government will have to have national reconstruction as a zero priority.

The Precatorios PEC is a perfect example of this process of going against the grain, of destroying good public policies to always replace them with something much worse or simply by emptiness. The Precatorios PEC buries a social program, Bolsa Família, which was not only successful but acclaimed throughout the world as an example of social policy with proven returns – including stimulating economic growth, income distribution and encouraging study. Education is Brazil's biggest challenge over the next 10 years. The country needs to go through an educational, scientific and technological revolution.

The most serious thing is that a serious and consistent social program is destroyed with a purely electoral objective exposed in the open. And no authority takes action, as if it were natural for a president at the end of his term to start dismantling any and all legal frameworks, as is the case of the liquid and certain guarantee of compliance with a judicial decision (which does not exempt us from demanding transparency and an audit on this issue of writs arising from judicial decisions).

The explicit anything goes and open vote buying to approve the PEC – in the 1st round it was approved in the Chamber by 312 to 144, or 4 votes more than the constitutional quorum – leave the difficult task of preventing a harmful electoral arrangement to the Senate to the interests of the country. And they also reveal the size of the hypocrisy and unfeasibility of the so-called “spending cap”, now demoralized – even TCU and its creator Michel Temer recognize the need for its revision.

What is being done is a social, fiscal and tax dismantling that, I repeat, leaves a cursed inheritance for the next government. Instead of a continuous program with guaranteed resources, which should be transformed into something broader and with more resources, which is obvious in times of recession, high inflation, unemployment and an increase in poverty, misery and hunger, we have a electoral aid that ends in 2022. No budget forecast, for example, for vaccination next year and full of unrealizable addendums.

On the side of precatories, a snowball of debts is created that the next governments will have to bear within an institutional framework impossible to comply with, with a spending ceiling, golden rule and BC independence. Added to this is the cost of high interest rates and increased public debt service – it could grow by R$360 billion with inflation and high interest rates. We will see how a false discussion is that we do not have budgetary resources for Bolsa Família. Not to mention the increase in revenue due to the rise in prices in general and in managed services, fuel, energy and telecommunications.

No tax reform, apart from the failure of the proposed changes to the Income Tax – what we need is a progressive Income Tax and not the mockery we have today that appropriates income from work and exempts the income of the 1% of Brazilians who remain with 28% of national income –, the absolute refusal to tax large inheritances and fortunes, and the hundreds of billions of reais hidden in tax havens under the legal protection of permissive legislation. Don't even think about charging taxes on the distribution of profits and dividends or even finally the important part of tax waivers that look more like donations of public resources.

What we are witnessing is a heap of casuistic and electoral measures – in the case of precatorios, just as well, with the risk of being declared unconstitutional by the STF, not least because there are already decisions to that effect –, an unrealistic budget for 2022 and a single certainty: if the PEC is approved as it is, the government and the majority of Congress push the country to a precipice, given the high risk of entering a cycle of stagflation. If that happens, broad structural reforms will be required to face this challenge and the geopolitical, climatic – as COP 26 pointed out – and technological changes that, decidedly, neither this government nor, unfortunately, nor the majority of our parties and congressmen seem to be up to par.

Once again, the Brazilian people will have the final say, as they did at times when all seemed lost. By sovereign, free and secret vote, the people said no to our elites who had led us down the path of authoritarianism and the renunciation of sovereignty and national interest.

* Jose Dirceu he was Minister of the Civil House in the first Lula government. Author, among other books, of Memories (Editorial generation).

Originally published on the website Power360.


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