The Criterion

Brazil Faces Hard Times Ahead


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The poor and underprivileged of Brazil are in an uproar. The president of Brazil, Michel Temer, who has only been in office for 5 months and 5 days, has already managed to shake the lives of many of his people to the core. Last month, the Brazilian Senate passed an amendment to their constitution, backed by Temer, limiting the amount of money the federal government can spend over the next 20 years.

This would seem like a wise decision. The Brazilian federal government is  currently facing “severe budget shortfalls”, and when you are short on cash, it’s always good to cut your spending a bit… right? The problem here is that this amendment imposes severe budget cuts to education and healthcare. This has everyone in the country in an uproar. Over 1,000 schools were occupied by their students, and many people took to the streets to protest, where they were met with the time-honored custom of Brazilian riot police, launching tear-gas.

Much of the outrage for this amendment comes from the distaste and hatred for president Temer, who was never elected to hold the highest office in Brazil. The prior president, Dilma Rousseff, was impeached and removed from office on charges of corruption, a charge which in the summer of last year, extended to most members of the federal government, including Temer. He was Rousseff’s vice president, so when she left office, he came in. But Temer has taken a hard right swing from his predecessor’s policies. Along with the constitutional amendment, Temer is also proposing a bill that would change the minimum retirement age to 65. This sounds normal to us in the United States, but in Brazil the average retirement age is currently 54, meaning that many people will have to work 11 more years than they were planning on if they want social security. These changes are so hated that many people are calling them the “end of the world”, and for those who will suffer the most from these new changes, it may well be.

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Brazil Faces Hard Times Ahead