Structural problems of the Brazilian economy

Economists Mansueto Almeida, Marcos Lisboa and Samuel Pessôa, in an article (in Portuguese) for Folha de S.Paulo, the most influential Brazilian newspaper:

Contrary to the prevailing view, the fiscal crisis does not stem only from the lack of control of public accounts in recent years. The crisis is deeper and requires a more severe and structural adjustment to allow the resumption of growth. The measures to facilitate a higher primary surplus this year do not overcome the serious challenges facing the country, they only postpone the resolution of the problems, which become even more serious.

Yes, a serious lack of control of public expenditures started in 2009. However, in addition to the short-term problems, there is a structural imbalance. Since 1991, public spending has grown at a higher rate than the national income. […]

Brazil’s serious fiscal problem reflects the unbridled granting of benefits that is incompatible with its national income. We promise more than we have, postponing the resolution of existing restrictions. We leave for future generations accounts payable, but the future has the inconvenient habit of becoming the present.

The article sums up well some of the main structural problems of the Brazilian economy, while also citing the cyclical challenges — caused, in the author’s opinion, by the policies adopted after the 2008–09 crisis.

It deserved more careful editing, though, with some charts and better organised arguments (the text is a bit messy in its bottom half).

The authors are considering translating the article to English. I hope they do that.

The full version, only slightly longer, can be read here.