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  • President Jair Bolsonaro at the the government palace, Brasilia, Brazil, Oct. 16, 2019.

    President Jair Bolsonaro at the the government palace, Brasilia, Brazil, Oct. 16, 2019. | Photo: EFE

Published 22 October 2019

Brazilian critical economists point out that the so-called "social security crisis" is neoliberal propaganda.

Brazil's Congress was expected to vote Tuesday on President Jair Bolsonaro's proposal for social security reform. To be approved, his bill requires 49 senators out of the country's 81 to vote in favor. 

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"Despite all the political turmoil, we are convinced that we will vote and approve the social security reform... we will have enough votes," the Social Liberal Party lawmaker Major Olimpio said.

The reform was approved in the first round by 56 votes on Oct. 1. Since Bolsonaro's proposal amends the Brazilian constitution, the legislation must be put to the vote again in the Senate.

Currently Brazilians can retire after contributing to the social security system for a period between 15 and 20 years. The reform would end retirement by contribution time and instead base it on age. 

The new bill proposes that women must be at least 62 years old to be able to retire and men 65 years old, whether they work in the public sector or in private companies.​​​

"When you feel silly, remember that there are people who advocate pension reform." The meme says: "Pension reform can increase military salaries by up to 75 percent."

Then he or she will be entitled to a pension calculated at 60 percent of all wages he or she received during his or her working life.

To get a pension equivalent to 100 percent of the average salary, the worker must contribute to social security for 40 years.

Critics of the proposal argue that it will lead to the exclusion of the majority of the population from social security, an effect that stands in contrast to the pension model established in the 1988 Constitution.

Bolsonaro's proposal also seeks to directly promote an individual capitalization system for the pensions of Brazilians. That part, however, was withdrawn from the second version of the bill after being lawmakers pushed against it in previous discussions.​​​​​​​

"Every day we hear bad news from supporters of Bolsonaro's misgovernment and militiamen (including his sons). They distract us with these sociopaths and that is why the Senate is about to pass a murderous social security reform which will generate despair among workers, retirees and the elderly. Out with Guedes." In the meme, the Brazilian Finance Minister says, "I am a cute person, I will give you your pension."

Although the government has not offered estimates of the impact the reform will have, local specialists, predict that changes would decrease the pension system by about US$6.1 billion over the next 10 years.

Paulo Kliass, a member of the Brazilian Association of Economists for Democracy (Abed), commented that his country is not well informed about the proposal.

He challenged government data on the supposed "social security crisis," for they are part of neoliberal propaganda that is aimed at convincing the people that "if there is no reform, Brazil will break down."

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