Expected for this Tuesday afternoon (19), the announcement of Auxílio Brasil was postponed by the Bolsonaro government. The program has been named as the “new Bolsa Família” and has encountered resistance among the economic team of the federal executive management, which is influenced by the financial market, which defends strict fiscal limits. There is no new release date yet.
According to unofficial information that was being anticipated by the press, the benefit would be distributed next month and would pay a monthly fee of R$ 400 for those contemplated until the end of 2022, the year in which Bolsonaro should seek reelection.
The initiative is seen behind the scenes in Brasília as a nod to the election, in an attempt by the president to reap political dividends. Bolsonaro faces a drop in popularity – a Datafolha poll conducted in mid-September identified 53% disapproval – while the government remains mired in scandals.
The last one reached exactly the economic area, with the revelation that the Minister of Economy is a partner in offshores (companies based in countries that offer tax benefits to attract capital) in the British Virgin Islands, known as a “tax haven” for millionaires.
It was in the midst of this context that the political world reacted to the cancellation of the presentation of Auxílio Brasil this Tuesday. “The suspension of the launch 30 minutes before the event is proof that the president has no concrete proposal to help those who need it most,” said the leader of the minority in the Chamber of Deputies, Marcelo Freixo (PSB-RJ), via Twitter.
the pessebist defended the strengthening of Bolsa Família, rather than the replacement of public policy. “The program is a world reference in the fight against hunger and today there is a line of 1.2 million people waiting to receive the benefit. These are families that have nothing to eat. Bolsonaro doesn’t do this because he is more concerned with electoral pettiness than with helping the millions of Brazilians who have nothing to eat”, he added, in different posts.
Civil organization leaders also reacted to the postponement. This is the case of the Institutional Relations director of the Brazilian Basic Income Network, Paola Carvalho. In an interview with Brasil de Fato, she highlighted that the government’s delay puts the vulnerable population in a situation of greater damage.
Most beneficiaries of the current round of emergency aid receive a monthly slice of R$ 150. According to official data, there are about 19.9 million families that together account for 43.6% of the contingent currently served by the program .
The government’s idea would be not to renew the policy, the last installment of which is being released this month, to start Auxílio Brasil as a result, in November. The postponement of the announcement of the launch of the new program left uncertainties in the air.
“I wanted to draw attention to what this means for families. “People know they are receiving the last installment of aid and have created great expectations that today a concrete announcement would come out, including the expectation that families who are not on the Bolsa Família, who are on the waiting list or who became impoverished in the pandemic would be somehow contemplated in a project for the future”, highlights Paola Carvalho.
“It’s very hard for us to live in a country where you see people looking for spoiled food in the garbage truck because there is despair in relation to hunger, and then you create hope, an expectation in search of a government response, and this response keeps vacillating between the which is the need of the people and an irresponsibility of the government. The issue of Cost Ceiling cannot be handled in this way”, criticizes Paola Carvalho, commenting on the theme.
The information circulating about the Brazil Aid show that the government, by releasing installments in the amount of BRL 400, would take BRL 100 of this total out of the Spending Ceiling, a budgetary restriction built into the Constitution in 2016 on federal investments in social areas. Established during the Temer government and defended by the Bolsonaro administration, the measure hamstrung public investments for a period of 20 years, establishing strict limits for fiscal policy.
The ceiling has become, over the past few years, the main target of opposition lawmakers and civil society experts advocating more robust and effective social programs. Once again, fiscal tightening returns to the center of the political agenda. According to information released by columnist Valdo Cruz, from the G1, the idea of going beyond the limits set by the fiscal adjustment provoked reactions from the financial market, a segment of main influence with the Minister of Economy, Paulo Guedes.
This would have been the reason for the postponement of the announcement. Advocates of the state’s reduction policies, representatives of the group are calling for more cuts to be made in other areas to fund the new program rather than piercing the ceiling. The proposal is frowned upon by sectors that demand a program aimed at the poorest.
The idea of new cuts in the machine is unpopular, and the government has faced criticism since 2019 because of the growing budget suffocation imposed on different areas of public administration, with emphasis on health, education and science.
Edition: Vinícius Segalla