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Este blog trata basicamente de ideias, se possível inteligentes, para pessoas inteligentes. Ele também se ocupa de ideias aplicadas à política, em especial à política econômica. Ele constitui uma tentativa de manter um pensamento crítico e independente sobre livros, sobre questões culturais em geral, focando numa discussão bem informada sobre temas de relações internacionais e de política externa do Brasil. Para meus livros e ensaios ver o website: www.pralmeida.org. Para a maior parte de meus textos, ver minha página na plataforma Academia.edu, link: https://itamaraty.academia.edu/PauloRobertodeAlmeida;
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quarta-feira, 31 de outubro de 2018
Manteve-se o grande jornal equilibrado que sempre foi.
Bolsonaro’s Hope and Change
Brazilians wanted new leadership after years of recession and graft.
By The Editorial Board - The Wall Street Journal
Oct. 29, 2018 6:51 p.m. ET
‘Bolsonaro threatens the world, not just Brazil’s fledgling democracy,” declared a headline last week in the Guardian, referring to presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro. And that was one of the milder warnings in the international press. Yet Brazilians elected him anyway on Sunday with 55% of the vote. Maybe the world should show a decent respect for Brazilian democracy and try to understand what happened.
Start with the fact that this was a transparent, competitive and fair contest. Mr. Bolsonaro didn’t steal the election. He won it by persuading voters. A 27-year member of the legislature, Mr. Bolsonaro was also fortunate to be running against Fernando Haddad, the hand-picked candidate of the Worker’s Party (PT) that has ruled Brazil for most of the last 15 years. Mr. Bolsonaro was able to run as the reformer against a legacy of economic and political failure.
Brazil has yet to recover from the leftwing populism of PT President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (2003-2010) and successor Dilma Rousseff (2011-2016). Deficits, public debt and inflation soared, as the PT expanded the number of state-owned enterprises. It also squandered the opportunity to boost capital flows, most notably by failing to create attractive auction rules in the huge deepwater oil reserves discovered in 2007. By the time the Workers’ Party was done, Brazil was in a recession that lasted nearly three years.
The PT also built a legacy of graft. Construction companies padded bids and paid kickbacks to politicians, executives and the PT. The national development bank extended loans to facilitate the transactions, including to Cuba and Venezuela. The head of the bank said in September that the dictatorships in Havana and Caracas have outstanding loans of $1 billion and both are in arrears.
Many other politicians from other parties joined in the bribery schemes. Mr. Bolsonaro did not. That gave him credibility when he ran as the antidote to PT greed and promised to drain the swamp.
Now he has to deliver. One good sign is that his chief economic adviser is Paulo Guedes, who trained at the University of Chicago. Mr. Bolsonaro has a history of economic nationalism, which could be his downfall. But as a candidate he promised to privatize some industries, clean up the fiscal accounts and propose full independence for the central-bank. He has also promised to repair the state pension system. The best medicine would be a Chile-style privatization.
To achieve any of this Mr. Bolsonaro will have to confront an array of special interests in Brazil’s powerful business class. He must also deal with 30 separate parties in Congress’s lower house and 20 in the senate. Yet he has a mandate, which means he should act fast on his reform agenda.
Mr. Bolsonaro has often made offensive comments about race, homosexuality and women, and in the PT days he sometimes waxed nostalgic for an earlier era of military rule. But Brazilians went to the polls knowing all this, and knowing too that their democratic institutions proved their mettle resisting the corruption of Lula and the PT.
Brazilians didn’t vote for fascism or a military coup. They voted for hope and change, and they will throw Mr. Bolsonaro out if he fails to honor his promises.