Why Dilma or Aécio, Brazilian voters explain
In a few hours, tens of millions of Brazilians will decide the most exciting presidential elections in this country since the redemocratization. President Dilma Rousseff (PT) and senator Aécio Neves (PSDB) are neck to neck in the polls.
I picked two very international Brazilian voters to defend their candidates. Moira Verso is a translator based in Switzerland. Bruno Gorga is an economist who just moved to São Paulo after some time in Singapore. Since Dilma is a little ahead in the polls, I am publishing Moira’s piece first. They represent well what Dilma and Aécio voters think their candidates can do best.
Why I am voting for Dilma, by Moira Verso
The fact that I don’t live in Brazil anymore made me want to vote for Dilma even more. If I still lived there I might vote for no one, since two things would weigh on my decision and, eventually, they would neutralize each other.
1 – My rejection t0 the political project represented by PSDB, which doesn’t necessarily stand for the minimum state, but does embrace a state of minimum rights. To talk about free initiative and free market in a country deeply market by social differences and wealth concentration is a dramatic political and moral mistake.
2 – The manipulation of facts, analysis and and projections by Brazil’s mainstream media, which makes many people believe Brazil is in decay. In fact, Brazil has just begun a path of small revolutions and change of perspective — and it took 500 years for that to happen.
But when I moved to Europe I noticed that Brazil is actually paid attention to, sometimes envied and even desired. Those living in Europe at this moment can see how life is under the current global financial crisis. It is not a matter of reducing expectation for our standards of living here, it is simple lack of jobs. There are too many people and little employment available. Most Brazilians have no idea what it means to be the seventh largest economy in the world in the middle of this turmoil. And that is because the current administration has prioritized job creation.
Unlike many have said, keeping jobs in Brazil wasn’t a choice made to harm national industries — after all, industries worldwide have been affected by China’s voracious rise. Policies to keep jobs have been so important that many Brazilians can barely think of themselves as unemployed. That is a great achievement. For that alone, seeing it all from abroad, I can’t choose to vote for no one.
Maybe I would make the same choice in Brazil if I could skip all the bias in the media and just compare the social agenda of the eight years PSDB remained in the Presidency and the 12 that PT has spent there. Ending extreme poverty, as the UN has just recognized, doesn’t happen by chance or in an act of self-determination. There needs to be a movement. A movement that Dilma represents.
Why am I voting for Aecio, by Bruno Gorga
I believe Brazil’s biggest challenge for the next decades is to promote better equality of opportunity. That attempt should develop in two different areas:
The first is by redistributing income. These money transfers are being executed by PT’s government and, as far as I know, they are pretty successful at it (Bolsa Familia and other redistributive programs). Second is by giving freedom for individuals to pursue their own initiatives, facilitating the entry of new companies, breaking oligopolies, increasing the safety net for failed entrepreneurs and, most of all, providing a predictable environment for businesses to thrive.
The first objective, even though being well executed, depends on the availability of resources by the treasury and, furthermore, depends on the maintenance of the purchase power. Meaning that if the government runs out of money it cannot keep performing transfers. Secondly, if prices rise too fast than the same amount cannot buy the same things, not serving anymore as a tool of redistribution. Dilma’s administration has not been able to handle the basic rules of macroeconomic policy making. They tried to reinvent the wheel and failed. Following the basic text book would be better, just to keep national accounts in place.
Furthermore, many of Dilma’s supporters and party members do not believe in the relation between fiscal expenditure and inflation, or between interest rates and inflation. This is alarming and indicates that the right measures won’t be taken in case she wins, leading to probable disruption of national accounts, increase in inflation and further aggravation of Brazil’s inequality problem.
The second objective was completely abandoned during Dilma’s government. Through the BNDES it gave more benefits to large corporations, even fostering the consolidation and monopolies in certain sectors. Dilma’s economic development policies seem to me quite in opposition with her social development ones.
This is to say that I am voting for Aecio because, in the path for higher income, wealth and opportunity equality in Brazil there should be income distribution, however, that mechanism can only go so far. There needs to be a better environment for productive activity. Aecio has signaled that he will maintain and expand the redistributive policies. Even thought that won’t be in such a large scale as Dilma would do, the macroeconomic adjustments are mandatory for the maintenance of the achievements made so far.