Power

Why economy-boosting measures won’t save Bolsonaro

Jair Bolsonaro has been in full desperation mode, trying to increase benefits and win popular support — but it looks to be too little, too late

Jair Bolsonaro takes part in a motorcycle rally in Campo Grande, Mato Grosso do Sul. Photo: Clauber Cleber Caetano/PR
Jair Bolsonaro takes part in a motorcycle rally in Campo Grande, Mato Grosso do Sul. Photo: Clauber Cleber Caetano/PR

Stuck in second place in the polls for over a year now and smarting from rejection rates over 50 percent, Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro went into desperation mode in June. Aware that popularity is so often tied to the economic conditions of the population, he sent a proposal to Congress circumventing public spending rules and freeing up more than BRL 40 billion (USD 7.6 billion) in social benefits — a controversial move in an election year.

The proposal was nicknamed the “Desperation Bill” or “Kamikaze Bill” due to its dramatic impact on public accounts, leaving a significant hole...

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