O gráfico montado pela Economist, abaixo reproduzido é interessante, pois mostra aos brasileiros a verdadeira extensão da mediocridade produzida pela economia política surrealista dos novos-velhos companheiros neo-neo-neo-cepalinos, ou velho-desenvolvimentistas, como vocês preferirem.
Eles passaram impunes pelas faculdades de economia, não aprenderam nada, sequer o receituario mais sofisticado do prebischianismo-furtadismo, duas correntes que primavam por certa afeição aos números, a despeito de sua adesão de princípio ao keynesianismo rústico que praticavam (ou seja, não o keynesianismo anticíclico, mas um keynesianismo desenvolvimentista, o que, para tempos normais, é uma contradição nos termos).
Depois de tanto desprezar o tripé econômico -- metas de inflação, câmbio flutuante e superávit primário -- e de na prática sabotá-lo, como é que os companheiros vão explicar a falta do que esperava fosse acontecer: crescimento com inflação moderada?
O que eles tiveram foi crescimento pífio e inflação elevada, que ameaça escapar do controle.
Creio que devem estar um pouco desesperados no Palácio do Planalto.
Mas, estou certo que vão persistir nos mesmos erros.
Paulo Roberto de Almeida
More inflation, less growth
The government’s response to the bad news stoked fears that Brazil may be in for a long spell of high inflation and low growth. Stung by criticism, Dilma Rousseff, the president, pointed out that Brazil is still growing faster than Europe. That is true, but hardly a very illustrious comparison: most other emerging economies, including in Latin America, are doing far better.
The fudging of the fiscal target disappointed, but did not surprise. In 2010 it was only met by a complicated bond swap between the treasury and Petrobras, the state-controlled oil company, which magically added 0.9% of GDP to the surplus. Brazil could probably run a lower primary surplus without risking its hard-won reputation for fiscal sobriety. But changing the target would be a better way to do so than resorting to creative accounting.
More worrying are plans to weaken the Fiscal Responsibility Law of 2000, which completed the job of cleaning up the mess left behind by decades of high inflation. If Congress agrees, as seems likely, the federal government will be able to cut taxes without having to say, as now, how it will make up the revenue shortfall.
This suggests that with a presidential election due in 2014, officials will do whatever it takes to meet their forecast of 4% growth this year. Further stimulus may come partly in the form of yet more giveaway credits from state banks. But policy is already very loose. The Central Bank’s benchmark interest rate is less than 1.5% in real terms. Any further stimulus is more likely to push up inflation than growth, thinks Carlos Langoni, a former Central Bank governor. “The problem is structural: lack of competitiveness,” he says.
The government has tried to tackle that, but with piecemeal measures. It is cutting payroll taxes. But despite slower growth, unemployment in the six biggest cities is just 4.9%. Employers have hung on to excess workers, partly because firing them is expensive. The tight jobs market has meant that the tax cuts have fed through into higher wages, rather than lower costs for businesses, says Ilan Goldfajn of Itaú BBA, an investment bank. Without faster growth, such hoarding of labour cannot last indefinitely.
The most likely source of business optimism is a successful round of infrastructure auctions, planned for later this year. That would show that the government is serious about tackling bottlenecks—and not too wedded to its statist ways to offer investors an attractive rate of return.
Even so, 2013 looks like uphill going. A further complication is that a drought last year is threatening electricity generation at Brazil’s big hydropower plants. Gas- and oil-fired plants, normally switched on only in the dry season, are running at full tilt. The last time reservoirs fell this low, in 2000, electricity rationing ensued.
Rain might yet come to the rescue. But if it doesn’t? The government is pushing ahead with big cuts in electricity tariffs, promised last year even as the reservoirs were receding. Lower energy prices are a big part of its plans to improve industrial competitiveness, and are politically popular. But ploughing on may be costly too. Gas is much pricier than hydropower (partly because the government has discouraged the private sector from looking for it). If it cuts tariffs, the government will have to pay the difference. And by stimulating demand, cheaper electricity will bring the risk of rationing a bit closer. Ms Rousseff is not an overtly religious person. But she may be praying for rain.
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