Brazil Became Poorer during Bolsonaro Government

Covid and Ukraine War worsened scenario, but social crisis predates them, say economists

Brazil became poorer during Jair Bolsonaro''s (PL) government, and not just because of Covid or the War in Ukraine. When he took office with an economy still weakened by the recession of the Dilma Rousseff (PT) and Michel Temer (MDB) years, the president made choices.

He reduced public investments, made little progress in the reform agenda, and stopped Bolsa Família, allowing the program's queue to grow. With the social crisis worsening three months before the election, the president and allies introduced a constitutional amendment to distribute R$ 41.2 billion in aid.

The Gross Domestic Product per capita, an indicator showing the wealth production divided by the number of inhabitants, closed last year at US$ 7,500 (R$ 41 thousand). It is about US$ 5,726 (R$ 31 thousand) less than the peak, registered in 2011. The current value is equivalent to the level of 2007. In 2018, the last year of the Temer government, the indicator was at US$ 9,151.40 (R$$49 thousand).

Data on the average income of Brazilians also show this impoverishment. According to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics, the average income fell from BRL 2,823 at the beginning of 2019 to BRL 2,613 in the March to May quarter of this year.

In 2019, the Bolsa Família program suffered the most significant drop in history, falling from 14 million to 13 million families. The queue exceeded 1.5 million.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

Read the article in the original language