On August 10, The Brazilian Report’s José Roberto Castro explained the internal struggles within the Jair Bolsonaro administration over control of the federal budget. The tug of war opposed the Friedmanites in the Economy Ministry — in favor of a hands-off approach to the economy — and the government’s military wing, which supports massive spending on infrastructure to generate wealth and development. Just one day later, it seems clear that the latter is winning the war.
Privatizations Secretary Salim Mattar and Debureaucratization Secretary Paulo Uebel resigned on Tuesday evening, citing frustration with the lack of progress in the ultra-liberal agenda the government has proposed for the Brazilian economy. In 2018, Economy Minister Paulo Guedes promised a wave of privatizations to shrink the “mammoth-sized Brazilian state.” Even sacred cows such as oil company Petrobras would be handed over to private control. But so far, the administration has not managed to privatize one single company, aside from a few subsidiaries.