The End of the World? In Brazil, It’s Already Here

The end of the world has already arrived in Brazil.

A constitutional amendment passed by the Senate last month is being called “the end of the world” amendment by its opponents. Why? Because the consequences of the amendment look disastrous — and long lasting. It will impose a 20-year cap on all federal spending, including education and health care.

.. The government isn’t backing down. The “end of the world” amendment is just one of many neoliberal measures being pushed through by Michel Temer, the president. It should be cause for concern that Mr. Temer can undertake so many such reforms, especially considering most of them, including the budget cap, go against the agenda of the person who — unlike Mr. Temer — actually won the most recent presidential election.

.. He’s still at it, saying he’s taking advantage of his unpopularity to put unpopular measures in place.

.. His proposal will set a minimum retirement age of 65, in a country where the average person retires at 54.

.. Although the average life expectancy in Brazil is 74, we’re one of the most unequal countries in the world. For example, in 37 percent of the neighborhoods of the city of São Paulo, people have a life expectancy of less than 65 years. It’s even shorter for the rural poor.

.. 51 percent of Brazilians rated it “bad” or “terrible.” (Only 10 percent of respondents said they approve of the government. Thirty-four percent called it “regular.”) Mr. Temer, who took power thanks to Ms. Rousseff’s impeachment, has also been found guilty of violating campaign finance limits and has been named in one of the many corruption scandals unfolding in the country.

.. Nevertheless, the new government has already received full support from the following organizations: Brazilian Federation of Banks, the Agricultural Parliamentary Front, National Confederation of Industry, the World Trade Organization, the Federation of Industries of the State of São Paulo, Federation of Industries of the State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazilian Chamber of Construction Industry, National Federation of Motor Vehicle Distributors and several top executives.