Opinion

Latest scandal forces Bolsonaro into unfamiliar territory

The president was hoping to use corruption as kryptonite against former President Lula. But he may be throwing stones in a glass house

corruption "Bolsonaro stole from the education budget," reads a poster on iconic Paulista Avenue in São Paulo. Photo: Renato S. Cerqueira/Futura Press/Folhapress
“Bolsonaro stole from the education budget,” reads a poster on iconic Paulista Avenue in São Paulo. Photo: Renato S. Cerqueira/Futura Press/Folhapress

Trailing far behind in the polls, President Jair Bolsonaro had a straightforward game plan for the presidential campaign. 

By holding the strings of the public purse, Mr. Bolsonaro is trying to get Congress to allow him to poke massive holes in the federal spending cap (a mechanism created in 2016 as a line of defense against overspending, but which has turned into a fiscal version of France’s failed Maginot Line).

With permission to spend at will, the president hopes to increase payments of his flagship cash-transfer program by 50 percent, offer financial aid for truck drivers, and to...

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