Paulo Guedes and his liberal strategy are under bombardment. The Economy Minister and his plan are violently attacked by the President of the Republic himself and by the centre’s army, camouflaged as an ally. Against all evidence, Guedes travels the battlefield as a denialist: “There is no war,” said the minister, according to a report by reporter Tales Faria.
In collusion with Bolsonaro’s operators, Congress exploded in Guedes’ lap a budget that requires corrections of R $ 37 billion to stand. And Guedes: “Now we form a team with the same goal, but a team that is playing together for the first time. We are still getting used to the tactical scheme. All players are still making mistakes here and there. That’s it.”
The centão team has been managed for three decades. What’s new is the target’s naivety. Nor is Bolsonaro an unknown. The novelty is that the captain’s raids turned into mortars that also hit Posto Ipiranga. Guedes reacts as if the risk of blowing up the block did not exist:
“We understand each other. I focus on the fiscal, technical issue, and he, on the political issue. At the top of the government, we all know that there will always be different views, but that one side needs to behave the other. The class below thinks that means war.”
“… One side needs to behave the other”, that is the essence of the rub. The economy comprises and comprises all activities in the country. But no activity in the country includes or understands the Bolsonaro-style economy.
Guedes’ liberal values were torpedoed when Bolsonaro promoted the ‘peace-making’ of Petrobras. He replaced a nominee from the Minister of Economy with a general from the “one command, the other obeys” commander at the helm of the company.
Bolsonaro, with his populism, stimulated the departure of the privatist president of Eletrobras. He showed the exit door to Banco do Brasil’s mandachuva when he put in place a restructuring plan for the state bank.
For Guedes, the problem is not with Bolsonaro’s interventionism, but with state-owned companies, which are “strange animals”.
Days ago, Guedes had said that too much error leads to disaster. “To become Argentina, six months. To become Venezuela, a year and a half. If you do it wrong you will go fast. Do you want to go the other way? It is this: you want to turn Germany, you want to turn the United States, ten, 15 years in another direction “.
Mauricio Macri put his feet in the hands in the conduct of liberal projects in Argentina. Nothing to do with Bolsonaro. The captain’s national-populist interventionism is closer to Venezuelan chavism.
Guedes has not yet explained how he will take his ministry out of the swamp, putting Brazil on the path that leads to German or American prosperity. But he seems happy with the little he has achieved.
The minister estimates that, without his presence in Brasilia, “we would not have the independent Central Bank, the new fiscal framework, the sanitation framework, the Gas Law and the authorization to include the Correios and Eletrobras in the National Privatization Plan. “
The issue is not the celebration of the little that is imagined to be assured. The problem is forgetting how much has been promised. The Bolsonaro government would be different if the president brought his idiosyncrasies on a leash and the Minister of Economy converted gogó into results.
The devil is that Bolsonaro does not stop producing folly. And Guedes always seems to be two moves behind his own language. The president is more concerned with the ballot boxes than with the public coffers. Safes that, in the gogó, Guedes had promised to clean up in the first year of government.
At the end of 2019, speaking at an investor forum, Guedes celebrated the fact that the world economy was entering a rehabilitation clinic at a time when Brazil was leaving that clinic.
At that time, the Bolsonaro administration was two and a half months away from celebrating its one-year anniversary. And everything that Guedes had promised was still in the saliva stage. The end of subsidies? Nothing. The stab in the breast of the System S? No sign. The collection of R $ 1 trillion with the sale of state-owned companies and public properties? Necas. The year ended with mixuruca growth: 1.4%. No pandemic.
When the coronavirus arrived in Brazil in March 2020, the economy was still in disarray. He gave what he is giving. Considering that Bolsonaro’s denialism resists the escalation of deaths – “We need to return to normal” – the situation tends to worsen.
In such an environment, so conflicted, an economy minister who denies reality – “There is no war” – has little to contribute. The worst blind person is the one who does not want to hear the gunshots. In a war, it is better to raise your rifle than to be strafed like a careless countryman.
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