Tuesday, April 19, 2016

New York Times on the Brazilian coup... I mean impeachment

So for the correct view (yes, it was a coup) see Laura Carvalho here. As she says:
The impeachment process of President Dilma Rousseff started as a retaliation by the speaker of Brazil’s lower house of Congress, Eduardo Cunha, indicted for taking as much as $40 million in a kickback scheme at the state-owned oil company Petrobras. Cunha, whose name is also tied to the Panama Papers, initiated the impeachment process shortly after a public announcement by government allies that they would not stop investigations in the Congressional ethics committee that could lead to his removal.
And, as I noted before the actual farce in Congress last Sunday, Dilma is accused of something trivial, delays in payments to public banks, which is certainly not an impeachable crime. The opposite view here, for what is worth.* Hard to agree with the criminalization of fiscal policy. With that criteria several heads of state should be impeached, including in the US (see IMF on this, which suggests that there are several ways to improving fiscal accounts through accounting devices).

It's also important to note that Obama and his State Department have been silent about this coup in a crucial country in the region.** Mark Weisbrot speculated about Obama's role in all of this. He said:
The massive spying on Brazil — and especially state-controlled oil company Petrobras — that Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald revealed in 2013 also points in this direction [Washington's support to undermine Workers' Party government]. It could be a coincidence that all this information about Petrobras was gathered by the U.S. government just prior to the scandals at the company; or perhaps Washington shared some information with its allies in the Brazilian opposition. And there is no doubt that the biggest players in this coup attempt — people like former presidential candidates José Serra and Aécio Neves — are U.S. government allies.
What's next? That's the important question. In terms of the economic policy expect more fiscal adjustment, including cuts in social programs (Delfim Neto, which had supported the Workers' Party for most of their governments, today refers to recipients of the Bolsa Familia program as parasites; sign of things to come).

* I'll try to have something longer on this later, but in my view the deep causes of the impeachment are ultimately related to class warfare. The improvement in the minimum wage, and the share of wages in income, ultimately caused the reaction from the elites and a good chunk of the middle class.

** Glenn Greenwald on this here.

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