For years, various observers of international politics and national development have called Brazil an emerging power on the world stage. There’s just one problem, as Charles de Gaulle pointed out many years ago; that “Brazil is the country of the future… and always will be.”
Under Workers’ Party President Dilma Rousseff the economy shrank 3.8% in 2015, leaving Brazil with a deficit of 11% of GDP and, with the Brazilian spending 90% on entitlements, that is unlikely to improve. The economy is expected to contract another 3.8% this year.
The list of Brazil’s problems only gets longer.
Rousseff has now been suspended by the Brazilian Senate, which voted 55-22 to accept the impeachment charges brought by the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies. She is accused of using money from state banks to cover up budget deficits.
Not helping her public image is the fact that recently, for the first time, she was caught up in the Petrobras scandal. Petrobras, Brazil’s state run oil company, was found to have been overpaid on contracts by government agencies and then returned the overpayment to various politicians to finance their campaigns. Rousseff is thought to have obstructed the investigation of Petrobras, of which she was also previously chairwoman, during many of the years preceding the scandal’s discovery. After former President Lula da Silva’s home was raided in connection to the scandal, she tried to appoint him as chief of staff. This move was blocked by a judge and her attempt only compounded the image of corruption. Cabinet members have greater immunity from investigations in Brazil.
But what is truly driving the distrust of Rousseff’s government? According to Think Progress, the explanation is simply that Brazil is a racist and sexist country. But for the rest of us, we should see this as an example of what happens when government grabs more power.
When government gets in bed with business, corruption follows. The bigger the government, the more things like this happen. The smaller the government, the less likely businesses will find the need to curry favor with government officials. It also shows what happens when entitlement spending reaches the point of no return.
Maybe one day Brazil will become the powerhouse some predicted. But as for today, you can add Brazil to the list of failed socialism experiments.