Jair Bolsonaro was elected Brazil’s 38th president and given a huge responsibility: to make the country grow again and avoid the state going bankrupt. This significant task has been delegated to his Minister of the Economy, Paulo Guedes, who has been regarded by investors as the administration’s most precious asset thanks to his ultra-libertarian philosophy. In less than two months, Mr. Guedes and his team presented their proposal for a grand overhaul of the Brazilian pension system—a reform on which the country’s economy depends.
Paulo Guedes had the option to tweak the reform bill Michel Temer submitted while still in office. Instead, he chose to draft his own bill from scratch, pushing the legislative process back to square one. The minister may have underestimated the government’s inability to negotiate with Congress—but now he realizes how politics can get in the way.