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President Jair Bolsonaro is bad for Brazil’s economy

Nov 13th 2021

IN SEPTEMBER 2019 Paulo Guedes, Brazil’s economy minister, told Congress that it could “make history” by keeping the budget under control, adding that “the political class shouldn’t be chasing ministers, begging for money.” Now Mr Guedes is backing an underhand government attempt to bypass the constitutional cap on public spending set in 2016, which was a crucial step towards righting the country’s finances. He and Jair Bolsonaro, the president, are presiding not just over a return to fiscal incontinence but also to other economic ills that have dogged Brazil: rising inflation, high interest rates and low growth. And the budget shenanigans have in turn created uncertainty about the future of the country’s flagship social programme.

In the election in 2018 Mr Bolsonaro’s alliance with Mr Guedes, a free-market economist, did much to persuade business people to vote for a former army officer of the hard…

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