Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has been impeached and officially removed from Office. Dilma and her supporters continue to argue that she is innocent of any wrongdoing for her alleged role in transferring money from state-owned oil company Petrobras to hide a Budget deficit as part of an effort to bolster her reelection bid and to elicit funds for her reelection campaign as well as her attempt to shield her predecessor Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva from prosecution. As her impeachment is largely the result of political retaliation, Rousseff is more likely than not a victim of corrupt public officials who are abusing anti-corruption laws to seize power, but Dilma is now the past. Brazil needs to move forward with new leadership.
Brazil currently faces two major threats: economic recession and a political crisis fueled by the state of the economy and corruption. With 60% of Brazil’s Congressmen facing accusations of corruption, Dilma’s fall does little to solve massive corruption in Brazil. Clearly, corruption from the Rousseff administration could not be tolerated, but newly installed President Michel Temer and his allies are far worse. For violating campaign laws alone, Temer already cannot seek public office again for another eight years. As the ultimate lame duck President, Temer’s capacity to effectively govern is limited to managing Dilma Rousseff’s policies and ushering in new elections, which is not what Temer has planned.
The empowerment of Michel Temer has pleased Brazil’s wealthy and Wall Street analysts, but the Brazilian People are the ones who matter as they are the ones who determine if Temer’s policies survive. As Temer is seeking to govern with an unpopular austerity and privatization agenda, it will be reversed with the election of Brazil’s next legitimate President. Forcing dramatic austerity measures onto Brazilians is going to result in increased political and economic instability. Moving forward with a Right-wing, economically liberal agenda that goes against the democratic outcome of the 2014 Election, Temer is sowing the seeds of instability, thereby exasperating Brazil’s abysmal economic outlook
Temer’s forced political agenda simply fosters crippling public outrage while ensuring his successor will be elected to reverse his public policy changes. Just as Brazil’s economy will continue to be hindered by inefficient government spending and public policies that foster social welfare over constructive economic policies, corruption will undercut the stability Brazil needs to thrive. If Temer was interested in creating greater stability, he would pursue the so-called “Operation Car Wash” investigations. Unfortunately, Temer has demonstrated a thorough lack of commitment to cleaning up corruption by appointing several political leaders under investigation for corruption. This demonstrates Temer’s unwillingness to address Brazil’s real problems.
Brazil’s faltering economy, like many of the Left-leaning Latin American economies, has never provided for the interests of its People. This is why Brazilians need an economy that fulfills their financial needs. They need economic policies that help develop a modern workforce. Above all, they need to empower innovative and enterprising individuals to generate new industries and businesses that support jobs and economic growth. Government corruption simply empowers a political class that blocks innovative and enterprising individuals from contributing to Brazil, thus hindering Brazil’s economic growth. Capitalism only works when people freely embrace its principles, but corruption will always undermine an economy, whether the government is run by socialists or capitalists.
Corruption is a form of abuse by government. Consequently, it can be discussed and addressed by tackling all forms of abuse committed by government. The difficulty in dealing with abuse is that abusers tend to learn how to avoid punitive measures designed to discourage them from engaging in abusive behaviors. Politicians tend to be fairly well-liked by their peers, which is often the reason they are elected, and this favoritism shields them from outside criticism. With a solid base of support, politicians are able to abuse their positions to pursue their own interests often at the expense of the People, because their abuse does not threaten their power.
In other words, corruption occurs when public officials are confident they can get away with it. By empowering law enforcement to investigate and prosecute public officials, scrutiny compels abusive leaders to avoid being caught. When corrupt leaders believe they will be caught and “punished,” such measures prevent corruption and government abuse. Sadly, clever abusers know how to protect themselves. One, they try to make their corruption lawful. Two, they insulate themselves from the consequences of their corruption by establishing plausible deniability by deriving benefits from affiliates. Three, they corrupt anti-corruption measures.
To address corruption, it is helpful to distinguish between “corruption” and the legitimate business of the ruling government. Corruption is the illegitimate use of official assets, influence, and relationships to pursue one’s personal interests or political agenda. Traditional, non-liberal governments, e.g. monarchies and empires, do not focus on the rights and interests of the Peoples, because they exist to be served by their Peoples. The ruling authority views the territory and assets of their country as their own property, thus the term “corruption” lacks meaning, yet the practice still fosters rebellion, e.g. the Arab Spring Revolutions.
Furthermore, Brazil needs new leadership, but Michel Temer is the President of Brazil, absent another impeachment trial, until 2018. Temer’s efforts to cut Brazil’s national budget can only help alleviate Brazil’s national debt, not solve its economic issues. Brazil may have an uncomfortably high level of public debt and public welfare obligations for investors, but corruption is a far heavier burden that will prevent Brazil from building a healthy, stable national economy. Temer will starve government-dependent Brazilians and the economy of the consumer participation it needs, which will make the situation in Brazil far worse.
Fiscal burdens and overreliance on government money are issues best addressed over long periods of time. People, businesses, and communities need time to adapt to the withdrawal of government funds to give people and their larger economy sufficient time to create jobs, which also requires the proper conditions. In forcing drastic shifts in social welfare spending, government causes insurmountable financial troubles for their Peoples, which hurts the overall economy. Brazil’s fiscal issues may be weighing down Brazil’s economy, but suppressed commodity prices are what drive Brazil’s macroscopic economic woes.
Brazil’s economic troubles can only be fixed over time with changes in global market conditions and the adoption of public policies that can be sustained with the support of the Brazilian Peoples. Brazil’s political issues cannot be solved unless powerful men like Temer and his allies allow investigators to expose and prosecute corrupt political leaders. Thanks to massive social welfare spending under former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, a.k.a Lula, millions of impoverished Brazilians finally started to benefit from the fruits of Brazil’s natural wealth. Brazil’s Right-wing political elites cannot hope to govern by simply seizing power and pushing Brazil’s poor deeper into poverty. They must make capitalism do what socialism has done for the impoverished.
Read old posts