The signs this week were clear: President Jair Bolsonaro increased pressure on minister Paulo Guedes to release a new Bolsa Família worth R$400. At Ciro Nogueira’s inauguration ceremony at the Civil House, the chief executive made a gesture to the minister of economy, showing four fingers, in reference to the value of the benefit. Guedes also had to assume this week that he is “resignable” in allusion to leaving office if he doesn’t like his boss’s parameters. In addition to all this, Bolsonaro now has the massive support of the centrão which, in addition to disliking Guedes, has interests in the president’s populist agenda.
Without Paulo Guedes’ consent, articulations between the government and Congress take place independently of the Chicago Boy’s endorsement, with the president of the Senate, Rodrigo Pacheco (DEM-MG) mediating the interests of the center, which now occupies the heart of the federal government. During the appointment ceremony of the new minister of the Civil House, Ciro Nogueira, a speech by Bolsonaro was yet another proof of the pressure. “Today I announce a 50% increase in Bolsa Família, the other 50% [de aumento] I leave it to Guedes”. At that time, Guedes’s countenance was nothing like that of the super minister who took office in 2019.
Understanding the message, it was not long before Guedes spoke again about the taxation of profits and dividends, an essential measure to support Bolsonaro’s populist outbursts. The truth is that, today, Guedes is struggling alone to keep the spending ceiling pillar upright, but to be successful, he will need to find a way to fund the steroid Bolsa Família. And as if finding space in the Budget was not enough of a problem, the waivers that the government will make in collecting corporate income tax with the tax reform also become another problem. To compensate for this increase in expenses and decrease in revenue, only taxing. According to the minister, most countries charge between 30% and 40% of dividends. And he cited France and the USA with rates above 30%.
With a planned plan, declared enemies and a lot of uncertainty on the journey, Guedes will need to live up to the honor he received this week from businessman Pedro Albuquerque Filho, CEO of Traders Club (TC), in São Paulo. In the lobby of his office, the executive ordered a statue of the minister, more than 2 meters high. For those who haven’t seen it, the doll alludes to Mandalorian, the main character of a series from the Star Wars universe “[Guedes] withstood a beating from all sides, it’s ours. Guedeslorian is in the house!”, posted Albuquerque Filho on social networks as a caption for the doll’s photo. May the force be with you, minister.
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