After the end of this month, roughly 25 million Brazilians will be left in limbo: they will stop receiving the government’s coronavirus emergency salary, which expires in October, but they are also not considered to be poor enough to receive benefits from the Bolsa Família program. Exactly what to do with these people is a massive question mark within the Jair Bolsonaro administration.
- Leaving them without any government help could further escalate the rise of poverty in Brazil and turn them against the president: Bolsonaro’s re-election chances are already slim, and he can’t afford to lose more support.
- But doing something about it in the form of more government handouts could cause the budget to spiral out of control, pushing up against the federal spending cap. Also, breaching that cap is an impeachable offense, meaning it could leave the president in a precarious position.
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- Euan Marshall is an editor at The Brazilian Report and also hosts the Explaining Brazil podcast in the absence of Gustavo Ribeiro.
- With a weakened currency, rising inflation and an economy ravaged by the pandemic, Brazilians are being priced out of beef on supermarket shelves. Meat consumption has dropped to its lowest level in 25 years.
- A dire economic situation, double-digit inflation, and memories of prosperous times make former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva favorite for 2022. Unable to change course, Bolsonaro is doubling down on his authoritarian instincts.
- The Brazilian president wants to implement a series of stimulus measures ahead of the 2022 election, but these could breach the federal spending cap. With re-election in mind, Mr. Bolsonaro is writing checks his budget can’t cash.
- The Bolsonaro administration spent taxpayer money on online advertising targeted at business executives to promote, among other measures, the emergency salary paid to informal workers who lost their income during the acute phases of the pandemic.
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