Bolsonaro Unveils Mass Privatization Plan for Brazil While Slashing Taxes for Rich and Wages for Poor

Ending his first week in office by quickly putting into action the far-right agenda he promoted during his campaign, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Thursday unveiled economic proposals that critics says will worsen inequality across Brazil, putting corporate profits above the well-being of middle- and lower-class families.

Privatization of airports and seaports, tax cuts for the rich, pension cuts, and a minimum wage set lower than Bolsonaro’s predecessor had planned were among the economic reforms the new president has in store for the country, as it moves toward what the new right-wing government calls a “minimal state.”

Finance Minister Paulo Guedes indicated that the administration has plans to privatize Eletrobras, the government-run power firm, while Bolsonaro took to Twitter on Wednesday to announce his plan to privatize 12 of the country’s airports and four seaports, claiming Brazil is burdened by “hundreds of bureaucratic governing bodies” and that the move will make available $1.85 billion in private investments.  

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The president eventually plans to privatize 44 airports, according to the Center for Aviation, a move that could end operations for Infraero, the country’s national aviation authority.

Guedes also expressed the need for “tax simplification and reduction”—a sign that the administration will worsen the already-regressive tax code which has slashed taxes for the rich while leaving low-income families paying more each year, proportionally, than rich households.