La revue americaine Forbes a diffusé sur son site une liste de 5 raisons pour lesquelles les électeurs brésiliens ne devraient pas réélire la présidente candidate Dilma Rousseff (PT).
1. L’économie brésilienne n’a pas eu la croissance qu’elle aurait pu avoir – et aurait du avoir – sous le mandat de Dilma Rousseff
2. La plus grande compagnie du Brésil contrôlée par l’État, le géant du pétrole Petrobras, est en situation difficile à cause de Dilma Rousseff
3. L’approche économique de Dilma Rousseff à maintenir l’inflation élevée afin de conserver les emplois est discutable
4. La dette publique du Brésil ne cesse de croître, et le gouvernement ne fait pas d’économie
5. Rousseff n’a pas mis en place les changements nécessaires pour améliorer le niveau de vie des Brésiliens, surtout des plus pauvres.
L’article de Forbes : 5-reasons-why-brazils-president-dilma-rousseff-should-not-be-reelected
reproduit ci-dessous :
5 Reasons Why Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff Should Not Be Re-Elected
Over the last 20 years, Brazil has undergone a huge social and economic transformation that culminated with the country lifting tens of millions of people out of extreme poverty and reaching seventh place among the world’s largest economies. Such transformations began to take place during the government of former president Fernando Henrique Cardoso, who was elected in 1994 (and previously acted as Brazil’s Finance Minister) and is arguably credited with laying the groundwork that put Brazil’s hyperinflation to bed, though often at the neglect of social problems.
Cardoso was elected for a second term in 1998, during which he adopted a critical position to maintaining the fundamentals of monetary stability, especially after the 1997 crisis erupted. Then in 2002, former metalworker and trade unionist Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was elected with the promise of governing for the people, but keeping the principles and achievements of his predecessor’s government, which earned him the confidence from investors and the global markets. Helped by a positive global economic scenario, Lula da Silva’s share in turning Brazil into a booming, world-class economy is unquestionable.
As Cardoso, he served two terms as president, and left office in 2010 after playing a major role in successfully electing his sidekick, Brazil’s current president Dilma Rousseff. A technocrat who had never before occupied elective office and with no impressive resume except a history of fighting against the dictatorship in Brazil’s so-called “Years of Lead,” Rousseff’s task was to continue and expand the achievements of both Cardoso’s and Lula da Silva’s governments, and keeping Brazil on track toward growth with income distribution.
Under Rousseff, though, Brazil went from booming to gloomy, with its economy stalling even as Latin America as a whole is growing. Investors from all the globe, who once lined up to buy a piece of the Brazilian Dream, are now looking to more attractive markets, such as Mexico (and celebrating every time she appears losing ground in polls). More recently, Brazil’s economy has slipped into a recession, the country’s annual inflation is accelerating and its outlook is deteriorating. It is as if Brazil is on its way to revisiting the past, due to a crisis bad management that are already costing the achievements of its people since the country’s re-democratization in the 1980s.
In other words, Rousseff, who is campaigning for reelection in the Brazil’s October 5 elections, failed to keep things together and put it all at risk. As if that was not enough reason for Brazilians to not vote for her, here are 10 other reasons why she should not be reelected:
1. Brazil Didn’t Grow As It Could and Should Have Under Rousseff’s Government
Not long ago, Brazil was the country of the moment, with its vibrant economy providing significant growth and jobs. As a leading exporter of agricultural and manufactured goods, as well as iron ore and services, Brazil’s economy expanded by 7.5% in 2010. It is a very different scenario now, as the country’s economy shrank by 0.6% from the first quarter to the second quarter, according to the Brazilian government’s statistics agency. It is the first time in five years that the economy has retracted. The drop was bigger that what most economists were expecting, and was mostly caused by a 5.3% dip in investment, although government spending also fell. Consumer spending also remained weak, increasing by just 0.25% in the second quarter, after declining 0.2% in the first quarter. Despite the tourism attracted by the FIFA World Cup, Brazil’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product, the measure of all goods and services produced) shrank 0.9% in the second quarter when compared with the same period a year ago. The Index of Economic Activity, as measured by Brazil’s Central Bank, dropped 1.5% in June from May, the fifth consecutive monthly negative result and the worst since summer 2013. It’s the first time Brazil’s economy contracted for two straight quarters since the aftermath of the global financial crisis in 2008.
And even though Rousseff says the weak economic performance of her government is to blame in a globally inospitable scenario for investors, numbers prove her wrong. By the end of her term this year, Brazil’s growth under Rousseff is expected to be two percentage points lower than Latin America’s overall growth between 2010-2014. It will be the first time in 20 years that Brazil was left eating its neighbors’ dust – during both Cardoso and Lula da Silva’s government, the country grew at the same rate registered for Latin America.
If we are to consider the world economy during the period, which grew 3.9% in 2011, 3% between 2012 and 2013, and should hit the mark of 3.6% this year, Brazil grew by a modest 1.7% during Rousseff’s years. That’s way behind than the growth registered in Chile (4.1%), Colombia (4%) and Peru (5.6%) between 2008 and 2013. By the way, Morgan Stanley sees Brazil’s GDP going negative in the first half of 2015, contracting -0.4%. Moody’s yesterday changed its outlook to Brazil to negative from stable citing “a sustained reduction in Brazil’s economic growth, which shows little sign of a return to potential in the near term;” “a marked deterioration in investor sentiment which has negatively impacted fixed capital formation in Brazil;” and “fiscal challenges these economic headwinds pose, impeding the reversal of the upward trend in government debt indicators.”
2. Brazil’s Largest Company, State-Controlled Oil Giant Petrobras, Is Being Seriously Damaged By Rousseff
The number one propaganda success of Brazil’s outlawed Communist Party was the slogan O Petroleo e Nosso (The Oil Is Ours). A product of the-oil-is-ours nationalism was Brazil’s 1953 law, which set up an oil monopoly, Petrobras. Ever since then, the company become a symbol of nationalism and pride for many Brazilians. It gained on new force in 1997, when then president Cardoso declared the end of the state monopoly and opened the company up to local and foreign private investment. Then in 2007 Petrobras discovered massive offshore oil reserves 180 km from the coast and 7,000 km below sea level, under a thick layer of salt. It was the proof that “God is indeed Brazilian,” as former president Lula da Silva excitedly said at the time. But the truth is Petrobras is neither the people’s nor God’s — it was taken by Lula da Silva’s and Rousseff’s Workers’ Party (PT) as soon as they ascended to power in 2002 and has been continuously used as a party machine at the expense of taxpayers’ money. The latest political scandal in Brazil originated within the walls of Petrobras, and involves allegations of bribery in a multi-billion dollar corruption scheme. A congressional inquiry into the company’s activities has already been called, after one of its former executives turned into whistleblower made an arrangement with authorities to give information on government allies’ allegedly receiving kickbacks on contracts in exchange for a lighter sentence.
Petrobras’ finances under PT are anything but disappointing. Today the company has a market capitalization of about $119 billion (it must be said the company has regained value recently mostly on the prospect that Rousseff could lose the October elections). That’s way below the $190 billion it was worth four years ago, when oil prices hit an all-time high and it had just announced its oil discoveries in the pre-salt. Petrobras reported a decline in net income of 26.7% to $2.2 billion owing to increasing financing costs. Its net debt is expected to rise to $117.2 billion by end of 2014 compared to $94.7 billion reported last year. As result, Petrobras investment-grade is now under question. Citing the increasing debt load, Moody’s downgraded the Petrobras’ debt last October to Baa1, the third-lowest investment grade rating offered by the credit agency.
Petrobras has long being used by Lula da Silva and Rousseff and a factory hunger jobs. Those are faithful and necessary for the government, are awarded jobs at the oil behemoth, as well as lucrative (and, sometimes, suspicious) contracts. That has deteriorated Petrobras’ potential, as some of its top executives are there simply because of their political connections. The company is being used by the government as a way to control inflation, by holding up increases in the pricing of oil and aggregates, which generated a loss of $20 billion to the company in 2013, according to Folha de S. Paulo newspaper. Petrobras erratic investments include the 2006 acquisition of Pasadena Refining System Inc., for which the company reportedly paid $1.25 billion, or 20 times the true value of the Pasadena, Texas-based refinery. The deal is currently being probed by Brazilian authorities.
The irony on this case came in the form of the only logical solution for the Petrobras imbroglio, suggested by the unlikeliest of presidential candidates, the Social Christian Party member and preacher known as Pastor Everaldo. “If I win, Petrobras will be privatized. It is the only way to end corruption there and from within the company,” he said during an interview aired by TV Globo last month. Recent polls show that Christian fundamentalist Everaldo would get only 1% of the vote.
3. Rousseff’s Approach To Keep Inflation High In Order To Keep Jobs Is Questionable
That has been a long debate among analysts. The consensus, though, is that inflation and low unemployment may work when there is growth in the economy, which is not happening in Brazil. As Roberto Altenhofen, a partner at Empiricus Reseach, recently pointed in an article, since the 1976 argument of Robert Lucas (which became known as “Lucas critique”), economists began to incorporate the idea that the trade-off between inflation and unemployment exists only in the vert short term. “When working with a systematically higher inflation, we quickly return to a new equilibrium, with higher levels of prices and the same level employment,” Altenhofen wrote.
Inflation in Brazil has worsened due to the fact that over the years wages have risen at a steady clip and corporate profits have declined. For Rousseff the solution would be to raise interest rates, tighten Brazil’s fiscal policy and allow prices to adjust, accelerating inflation before the situation normalizes. That’s not an easy task, as consumption represents the largest part of the country’s economy — 63%. For a populist governant such as Rousseff, it sounds like a harsh medicine that the patient, as much as he needs to, will not have access to it.
4. Brazil’s Public Debt Keeps Growing, And National Savings Are Still Low
Brazil’s public debt is still relatively low ($951.4 billion in July), at 35%. But it is growing. The federal budget is constantly in deficit, and Rousseff has committed to meet a primary surplus target of 1.9% of GDP this year and 2% next year, should she be reelected. In the first six months of the year, the primary surplus hit R$ 29.4 billion, the lowest sum in history. The nominal deficit has hit 4% of the GDP, flirting with increased debt, higher taxes and more inflation ahead. After taking power in 2010, Rousseff concentrated all her work o the Growth Acceleration Program (PAC), which was created by Lula da Silva. The $225 billion plan to promote development through housing, sanitation and every, and transportation, is still mostly on paper. Many projects are mired in controversy and cost overruns. Many others are delayed and, in all of them, fiscal pressures keep pouring in.
Brazil is not a great saver either, having only about 13% of its GDP in savings, well below China’s mark of 51% and Russia’s 30%. In order to keep costs afloat, the government has recurred to privatizations, especially of new roads and railways, airports and ports projects. But the biggest problem, though, is what Rousseff’s opponents call swelling of public administration. Rousseff’s government has a total of 39 ministries aiding her, many with no significant function. Currently, there are nearly 2 million government employees, many of whom getting paid generous salaries. Both Aecio Neves and Marina Silva, who are disputing the presidency with Rousseff, have said they would halve the ministries. Neves, who is third in polls, went as far as to say he would dismiss a third of the government employees.
Brazil’s government swallowing causes inefficiency and corruption, bureaucracy and is responsible for a byzantine tax system. Last March, Standard & Poor’s downgraded Brazil for the first time in a decade citing Rousseff’s sluggish economic and expansionary fiscal policies, which the agency believes are fueling an increase in debt levels.
5. Rousseff Didn’t Promote The Changes Required To Make The Lives Of Brazilians, Especially The Poorest, Better
PT has long proclaimed itself as the party whose mission is to defend the poor and socially excluded, by promoting the changes that could ultimately make their lives better. That has not been the case during Rousseff’s government. One of the reasons, only to keep it recent, is the return of the ghost of inflation. It has been scaring Brazilians since the 1970s, when it was relatively stable, and began rising in the early 1980s until it accelerated uncontrollably to reach hyperinflation status after 1985. The problem was tackled by Cardoso in the early 1990s, thanks to a reform package that included the creation of the Brazilian real and stipulated measures to maintain the economy in balance. Such measures were embraced by Lula da Silva during his two terms as Brazil’s president, when he stood still by PT’s mission in regards to workers.
On the other hand, Rousseff doesn’t seem to have made her homework. According to a 2012 survey, the PNAD (Pesquisa Nacional por Amostra de Domicilios), Brazil’s income inequality improved continuously from 2002 through the next decade. Based on the Gini coefficient, a statistical dispersion measurement that ranks income distribution on a scale between 0 and 1, income distribution in Brazil stopped getting betters i 2012. At the same time, the income generated by the richest 1% of the population and the poorest 50% increased 50% from 0.66 to 0.69, which implies that Rousseff’s government broke a string of 10 years of progress in income distribution in Brazil. In a related topic, during Rousseff’s government the number of illiterates grew for the first time in 15 years, a personal defeat for her and Lula da Silva, who have both famously promised to eradicate illiteracy in Brazil, which is primordial for promoting income equality.
“Brazil’s current heterodox economic policy is not growing the cake and is ot dividing it equally either,” Altenhofen wrote. “The economic growth under Rousseff was the lowest since president Floriano Peixoto, whose government ended in 1894.”
Simply put, not only is Brazil not growing but it also reduced its income distribution.
Rousseff, who is campaigning and acting as Brazil’s president simultaneously, already signaled she will change her economic team in case the wins the October elections. The sentiment is, however, the time for promises is behind her. There’s no doubt about Rousseff’s importance for Brazil, as the first woman who won an election to be president years after being tortured by the dictatorship for her left-wing activities in the 1970s. But politicians, especially those elected for public office, should be evaluated by the deeds they accomplish once they put themselves up for a job, and by how their actions will positively affect the majority of people, and not by what they say or want.
Rousseff seems like someone who wants the best for Brazil, but her country will be better off once she is gone.