100 days of Lula are 162: the mark is reconstruction and the test is missing in Congress – 04/10/2023

The first months of Lula’s third term cannot be evaluated without considering the abnormal times experienced by Brazil in the four years of the previous government, of Jair Bolsonaro. The new government’s own first 100 days were not 100 days to begin with—they were 162 days.

Bolsonaro practically abandoned the government the day he lost the election, on October 30, 2022. Lula “took over” the next day, and his first 100 days in office, including the informal period, were completed on February 8. From there until this Monday (10), when 100 new government officials are completed, another 62 days have been added.

Many programs resumed

It is not possible, again, to evaluate the new government under the light of normality. One cannot forget that it followed a disastrous administration, which demolished a wide variety of social and economic programs, froze public policies, reduced investments to almost nothing and left the maintenance of the public machine to abandonment.

As if all this were not enough, Bolsonaro encouraged the population to arm itself, allowing the diversion of weapons to militias and gangs, and was responsible, with the release and protection of loggers and miners in the Amazon, for advances in deforestation in the region, and for the unacceptable genocide of the Yanomami indigenous people. Not to mention that the new government had to face, right at the end of the first week, a very serious attempt at a political coup by Bolsonaro supporters, including with the support of the Armed Forces, characterized by attacks and vandalism on the headquarters of the Three Powers.

In its early days, the Lula government stopped the devastation promoted by Bolsonaro and put forward reconstruction measures. In these circumstances, classifying the resumption of historically successful social programs, with up-to-date registration and inspection rules, after the implosion carried out in the previous government, as recycling old programs is, at the very least, a demonstration of ill will and a lack of overall vision.

A basic list of these retrieved and already running programs could contain:

Resumption of the Bolsa Família program, with an average income transfer of more than R$ 700 per month for more than 20 million families;

Salary readjustment of civil servants, after seven years of freezing;

Adjustment of the minimum wage above inflation, after four years without a real increase;

Relaunch of the Minha Casa Minha Vida program;

Resumption of the Food Acquisition Program and the National School Feeding Program, practically extinct in the Bolsonaro government;

Reinsertion of the country into the international diplomatic community, after the transformation of Brazil into a pariah in foreign forums by Bolsonaro;

Resumption of vaccination campaigns and the Mais Médicos program.

Negative point: ministers bang heads

From that point onwards, depending on the analyst’s point of view, assessments may view the half-full glass of water as half-full or half-empty. The headbanging of ministers is in the half-empty region of the water glass. Examples:

The unilateral decree by the Minister of Social Security, Carlos Lupi, of a cut in the interest limit of the payroll loan. The announcement, without res Lula and negotiation with the banks, resulted in the extinction of the modality by the financial institutions and in wear and tear for the government, forced to go back and adopt a higher limit;

The announcement by the Minister of Ports and Airports, Marcio França, of the offer of air tickets at R$200 for certain groups of people, without due negotiation with the airlines; It is

The disclosure, by the Minister of Labor, Luiz Marinho, of the end of the FGTS birthday withdrawal rule, before completion of specific studies, leading to yet another retreat by the government.

Positive point: concern with public accounts

There was clear progress in the economic area with the creation of a new anchor for the control of public accounts, replacing the ineffective and unfeasible expenditure ceiling, and the formation of a competent team to elaborate a consistent tax reform. Some revenue recovery measures, and plans to reduce the public deficit forecast for 2023, can also be listed on the positive side of the first months of governments.

Lula’s clashes with the president of the Central Bank, Roberto Campos Neto, appointed by Bolsonaro and with a fixed mandate until the end of 2024, over the high level of basic interest rates, are part of the negative aspects of the beginning of the government. In the same compartment of negative actions can be placed the verbal wars with the senator and former judge Sergio Moro.

Given this situation, the first 100 days of Lula’s third term should be celebrated as a return to civilization after barbarism. But the tests of the relationship with Congress are missing, mainly with the Chamber of Deputies and its president, Arthur Lira (PP-AL).

After the Transition PEC, even before Lula assumed the presidency, no government measure passed the scrutiny of the Legislative. It remains to be seen whether the mark that Lula is so demanded for his government will come from the success of negotiations with a conservative Congress and in part still hostile to the government, in matters of interest to the Executive.

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