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Brazil's upcoming elections could lead to social instability

The populist-leftist policies of former presidents Luiz Inácio "Lula" da Silva and Dilma Rousseff brought Brazil to a decade-long economic downturn.

These two socialists have been in power since 2016. Nevertheless, the economy of the country continues to swing. His score in the Heritage Fund's Index of Economic Freedom fell again this year, reflecting a significant deterioration in Brazil's budgetary position, which is still compounded by the reduction in freedom of work, freedom of business, government spending and government integrity was strengthened. [19659003] <! –


At the same time, Brazilian politics and social institutions have become increasingly unstable.

Regardless, Reuters reported that, according to a recent poll, Lula could win a new term as president in October this year.

Brazilians would be well advised to think twice before choosing to to return what one could call "Lula-ismo". To understand why, they only need to see their big neighbor in the south.

When it comes to self-imposed economic damage from budget-reducing left-wing populism, Argentina's track record is even longer and grimmer than Brazil's.

Argentine Colonel Juan Domingo Perón seized power in 1942, securing a narrow lead in the ratification of his military dictatorship in a 1946 presidential election. He then quickly began building a vast welfare state to earn future voter loyalty. During most of the following more than seven decades, the brutally effective political machine that he constructed dominated de facto Argentina.

The record of Peronism is one of the nationalized industries, inefficient and corrupt state-owned enterprises, Marxist-inspired import substitution policies, and monopolistic control of exports and foreign exchange earnings that brought them into the country. Along the way, Perón arrested political opponents and censored media critics.

The late President Nestor Kirchner and his wife Cristina founded their own brand of Peronism Kirchnerismo during their twelve-year tenure, which ended in 2015. Wall Street Journal Mary O & # 39; Grady reported that Kirchnerismo proved no better than direct Peronism. It bankrupted Argentina, both institutionally and financially. The Kirchners barred political opponents, seized private property, nationalized businesses, gagged media critics, incited street mobs, distorted government statistics, and destroyed central bank independence. Kirchnerismo has inflated the government and left the economy in ruins.

Fortunately, the political situation in Brazil has not deteriorated to the same extent. Brazilians returned to market-oriented democracy as they learned in a harsh fashion (as a result of the economic and budget collapses of 2016 that led to Rousseff's removal) that the government could not sustain lavish spending habits forever.

If Lula could regain the presidency, he would put Brazil back on the road to the Brazilian version of the populist Kirchnerismo (which means "Lula-ismo" in Portuguese) it was before the impeachment of Rousseff.

So far, Lula's planned political comeback has caused one roadblock after another. Last year, he was convicted of corruption charges. Earlier this year, an appellate court upheld this conviction, which means that Lula can not legally serve as president, even if he wins the election.

Meanwhile, free-market think tanks, such as the Brasilia-based Instituto Monte Castelo, are working overtime to convince Brazilians of the benefits of greater economic freedom for their country. The 2018 parliamentary elections will provide an excellent opportunity for voters to send this message to the country's political establishment.

James M. Roberts is Research Associate for Economic Freedom and Growth at the Center for International Trade and Economics Shelby and Cullum Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy of the Heritage Foundation

Image: The Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva attends a rally in Sao Leopoldo, Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil March 23, 2018. REUTERS / Diego Vara

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