Dilma Rousseff seeks Authoritarian powers
There is nothing more dangerous than a bold politician on a power trip whose authoritarian desires blind her up to the point of believing that she should get even more power.
In Brazil, career politicians like Dilma Rousseff and Lula da Silva, who have been immune to accountability for years, are now resourcing to authoritarian measures to neutralize popular opposition to new austerity policies.
According to local press reports, Rousseff is now seeking support from Congress to pass legislation that would enable her to raise taxes via executive order as supposed to sending requests for more tax hikes to Congress, where representatives would vote in favor or against raising taxes on the poorest segment of the population.
After learning about the growing popular rejection of her new fiscal plan that includes spending cuts in social programs and reviving a financial transaction tax, Dilma is now seeking easier ways to have her way with the Brazilian people.
If Congress were to concede new powers to Rousseff, she would be able to increase the income tax, sales tax, gas tax and many others at will without any kind of congressional review.
The idea behind the new fiscal measures is to increase tax revenue to help cover the gigantic deficit generated by the corruption and incompetence of the last 12 years.
According to government accounts, only in 2014, the social security program had a deficit of 58 billion reais, an amount that now grown to 80 billion reais. It is expected that next year the deficit in this program alone will reach 117 billion reais, or 29 billion euros in 2016.
The initiative by the Rousseff administration has been described by opponents as a sign that the government is lost and that the only solution they see to the current crisis is to punish the Brazilian people for the sins of the political class. For average Brazilians, the measures seem to be part of Dilma’s vengeance against those who dared to protest her actions.
In Congress, representatives have warned that if Dilma resorts to massive tax hikes, assuming that Congress provides her with the power to do so, they will counterattack with a congressional decree that will nullify Rousseff’s executive orders.
The disgust for Dilma and her administration has grown so much that even journalists are expressing their shock as the new economic measures are announced. “It is not possible that this government punishes taxpayers as a way to compensate for the corruption and the mess that has been created,” said a news reporter during a live report.
People in Brazil demand that the president ends wasteful spending in the federal government and that Rousseff puts an end to the corruption schemes created by the Worker’s Party (PT) during the last decade before thinking about raising taxes to small business and the middle class.
If there is one word that sums up what Brazil needs now is Catharsis. The country needs some sort of purification of its spirit troubled by the release of the assumed truth. That truth is that, for many years, Brazil has been a captured nation.
Catharsis is not a popular word in the vocabulary, but the sense is no stranger to the feelings of Brazilians. People here need to go through a collective experience that resembles the the expulsion of political and social evil.
It’s been nine months since Brazil began its affliction due to the political and economic crisis that every day becomes worse, because it is not faced as a moral crisis. There are voices everywhere that respond to various diseases, from the economic downturn, the shrinking investment or the progressive public indebtedness to the mega-corruption that has invaded the public sphere as never seen before. Yet, Brazil does not have a national unifying experience of catharsis that will serve as a solution to the political and economic crisis.
How to get Brazil to live a catharsis? There are initiatives that can produce the effects of a purification of sorts, starting with political practices that are at the root of the moral crisis.
One is the project being carried out by the Federal Public Ministry (MPF), which conducts investigations, on Operation Lava Jato. Another is the proposal of legislation to increase penalties for offenses of corruption and speed up judicial procedures judicial that end with impunity.
Another initiative was the proclamation by the National Conference of Brazilian Bishops (CNBB) that the fight against corruption must be a crusade that has the be supported by all citizens and activists so that it is possible to change the corrupt way of doing politics in Brazil.
At stake is the legitimacy of the Brazilian democracy as a form of government in the country. The MPF project, presented to Congress in July, is seen as a bill of popular initiative and it needs 1.5 million signatures to be accepted by the legislature. If this number of signatures is obtained, it will test whether Congress is able to contribute to the moment of truth.
The convening of the CNBB seeks to mobilize society to pressure the Federal Government and Congress not to seek avoidance of judicial consequences in the operation Lava Jato. These advance and involve many senators and deputies, accused of receiving illegal kickbacks funded by the now famous ‘pixulecos’, originating in the diverted money from Petrobras and other public sources over the past governments which were under the leadership of the Workers Party ( PT).
Corruption is not the only misfortune that the Brazilian society must face with courage and truth. In the middle of the economic crisis there are a number of errors in the management of the economy in the last decade, which led to the hardship of the public sector.
Rousseff’s government continues to deny the reality that the revenues produced by taxes and contributions are insufficient to cover expenses. Consequently, for the state machine does not stop, public debt is increased.
Another consequence is the violent contraction in public investment, without which the economy will not be revitalized. Along with lack of investment, unemployment rises and tax revenues dwindle because the Ministry of Finance no longer raises enough to pay for exorbitant salaries and the cost of services.
The economic crisis is the result not only of corruption, but also of incompetence in governance. It is important to remember that those who have been in power in the last 12 years are people whose only goal was to get to positions of power to favor their friends and themselves. Others like Lula da Silva, were illiterates who could not read or write. The Petrobras scandal is simply the most glaring example of such errors and of the politics of populism practiced by the PT governments in the name of “development”.