The ceiling does not hold

Image: Paulinho Fluxuz


The crisis only deepens. Bolsonaro understood that he will not be able to carry out the coup and will have to be re-elected if he wants to remain in power from 2022 onwards.

Rodrigo Maia and Paulo Guedes came together two weeks ago to warn Bolsonaro that breaching the spending ceiling means entering a gray area that could lead to impeachment[I]. The situation is so serious that the media vehicles have already noticed the government's intentions and constantly send messages to the president, such as the infamous editorial of the St Paul's Fault[ii] and Miriam Leitão's column[iii]On The Globe. The mainstream press, spokesperson for the interests of the economic elite, is an excellent thermometer to measure the Market's concern in relation to Bolsonaro's political-electoral plans. If until now there has been resilience regarding the outbursts and successive crimes of responsibility attributed to the president, it is clear that the economic area is the “Achilles heel” of the government.

Bolsonaro, in an election campaign for 2022 right now, is at a tipping point: to be re-elected, he needs to pierce the spending ceiling and resume investment, generate jobs and income. If you fail to comply with the ceiling, you could lose the support you have with the economic elites and then be subjected to any of the more than 50 impeachment requests that rest in Rodrigo Maia's drawer while the nation bleeds with more than 117 thousand dead by covid-19 without even having a minister of health to manage the crisis.

The hegemonic media, which stage a comfortable opposition to the president to the unwary, do not have great interests in removing him from power. The right, whose parties were devastated by Lava Jato, has no candidate to replace the captain. If bad with him, worse with the left. So they refer to Bolsonaro’s social policies – poorly made copies of those elaborated by the PT administrations – as a populist resource to gather support and improve the government’s approval ratings.[iv].

It should be remembered that the “modernizing theory”, developed in the 1960s in the United States, placed populism as a stage in the development of patriarchal and rural societies towards a modern, industrial and capitalist model. In this sense, populist politics mixes traditional and modern values, corresponds to a moment of transition and is seen as a necessary step towards a developed and democratic society. In general, in Brazil, the conceptualization of populism was based on the culpability of the State and the victimization of society. This aspect was overcome from the understanding that, far from being atomized individuals, the popular masses are made up of active subjects in national politics.

The media, which criticizes Bolsonaro in the face of the possibility of his government breaking the spending ceiling in the name of resuming economic growth and with the intention of capitalizing on popularity for itself, confuses (purposely?) popular policies with populism and expresses the yearnings of “God ” A market that does not care about the thousands of people who have died or will die directly from covid-19 or the consequences of the pandemic, namely: the austerity economic policy that prevents public investment and the consequent economic recovery.

This would be an excellent opportunity for the Left to capitalize on the fissures of the Right bloc. But, once again, the political parties are at the tail end of the situation, imprisoned in offices and far from their social bases. One does not see the presence of parties, especially the PT, but also all the others in the progressive camp, building the political struggle with the most vulnerable populations. The anti-fascist and app delivery demonstrations against the scrapping of working conditions took place in the absence of the parties, which supported only after they saw the population on the streets. Leftist parties could, for example, carry out actions around the pandemic itself, such as the distribution of masks, hand sanitizer, prevention guidelines and basic care to be taken in the current health crisis. While the MST distributes tons of food to needy populations throughout Brazil[v], the parties continue to distribute tweets of indignation in the face of the authoritarian advance, notes of repudiation and seals that have an effect only for their political-electoral bubble. The left, in general, needs to act based on social solidarity, taking advantage of the vacuum left by the evangelical churches that, in general, do this, but currently deny the pandemic and keep their faithful aligned with the government, which, in turn, is supports and capitalizes politically on top of the R$ 600,00 emergency aid that Bolsonaro himself postponed and was against, but had to swallow and sign due to pressure from the National Congress.

The crisis only deepens. Bolsonaro understood that he will not be able to carry out the coup and will have to be re-elected if he wants to remain in power from 2022. This spending ceiling is not sustainable.

Make your popcorn and wait.

Bolsonaro, the father of the poor, is coming!

Carla Teixeira is a doctoral candidate in History at UFMG.







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