Bolsonaro Cuts Government Spending in Social, Culture and Labor Areas

Pressured by Social Security spending, government cuts program funding in 2020


Pressured by rising expenditures in social security and government salaries, Jair Bolsonaro's government will make up for scarce resources in 2020's budget by cutting back on social, cultural, and labor programs and actions.

Minha Casa Minha Vida, for example, will have the lowest amount of resources in history (half compared to this year). The government will also cut in half funding for the enforcement of labor laws and workplace safety.

FILE PHOTO: Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro looks on as he leaves the Alvorada Palace in Brasilia, Brazil December 12, 2019. REUTERS/Adriano Machado/File Photo - REUTERS

Out of a total of R$ 1.4 trillion (US$ 337 bi) of expenditures planned for 2020, R$36 million (US$ 8.6 million) is reserved for occupational safety and health inspection, combatting slave labor, and labor obligation verification—49% lower than in 2019.

The National Program for Access to Technical Education and Employment will almost disappear. The Ministry of Economy has argued that the courses offered do not meet the demands of the labor market. The peak of the program was in 2015, with a budget of R$ 4 billion (US$ 963 million). The amount for 2020 is 97% lower.

Bolsa Familia has an uncertain future. Not even the 13th payment installment, the president's promise, is guaranteed. The government reserved R$ 29.5 billion (US$  for the program, compared to R$ 32 billion (US$ 7.7 bi) this year. Bolsa Familia will serve 13.2 million families, virtually the same coverage as of December (13.1 million).

Investment in culture will also plummet, especially in the cultural preservation of historic cities. Resources for these projects have been waning since 2013 (R$ 300m at the time) and are R$ 33.1m (US$ 7.9 m).

The main challenge for the government is the spending ceiling. The standard prevents the Union from raising public spending more than the previous year's inflation. Approved by Congress, the 2020 Budget is at its limit. New expenses would need to be compensated by canceling other expenses.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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