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Sao Paulo governor named leader of PSDB and most likely presidential candidate

Monday, December 11th 2017 - 19:51 UTC
Full article 19 comments

The centrist Brazilian Social Democracy Party, PSDB, elected four-time Sao Paulo Governor Geraldo Alckmin as its leader on Saturday, making him its most likely presidential nominee in next year’s elections. Alckmin threw the party’s weight behind a social security overhaul that is currently before Congress and would cut generous pensions for public-sector employees. Read full article


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  • cryptojane

    The PSDB is not a “centrist party”. It is a far right party whose members have oly one aim; to increase their personal wealth at the expense of the citizen.

    Dec 12th, 2017 - 09:41 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    PSDB, a far right party ? don't think so....they are centre left , and quite frankly not much different to all the other parties....all in it for the money. The only party to the right of centre is the one Bolsonaro belongs to.

    Dec 13th, 2017 - 02:06 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • :o))


    It's a FACT that ALL the Political Parties:
    - freely admit a corrupt politician as a member,
    - once admitted, never expel him/her and
    - permit him/her to remain politically active.
    Is it EVER possible, that such parties be LEGALLY charged with “Encouraging Corruption” AND ban them permanently?

    Dec 15th, 2017 - 01:37 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    True. They are all scumbags. Perhaps 5% are honest...
    Referring to the post right at the top, why do people who don't know their ass from the elbow, insist on commenting on something they haven't a clue ?

    Dec 15th, 2017 - 04:21 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    The previous thread has closed so I'm replying here.

    Re-reading the article I linked it says 1.7 million 'beneficiaries' have left the program. Assuming they mean individuals and the total on Wikipedia is families then I calculated the percentage wrong. Your total of 1.4 million people leaving is at least somewhat close to that. Where did you get your figures from?

    “Temer is proposing a US$ 1 billion fund...”

    Sounds like a lot, but shared between 39 million people that is less than US$26 each. How is he proposing to spend the money?

    “are we to consider it an eternal benefit with no strings attached ?”

    Possibly. The UK gives child benefit which until recently was not even means tested, and lasts until the child is 18. I don't see this as a problem if the benefit is only supplementing income from work, but if unemployed people are relying on it instead of finding a job then it becomes an issue. It's better for everyone including themselves if they can get work. As I understand it the BF has proved to do a bit of both, and only the second needs to be avoided.

    If you want to save money then reforming the pension system is much more important. One of the articles I read said that the government (under the PT) avoided increasing the minimum wage because it would also increase pensions. Tying the government's hands like that is another downside to neglecting the reforms.

    How often have you visited those poor N and NE states? They are as far away from you as North Africa is from me. I'm sure if a person's income doubled from $1.90 per day to $3.80 they would notice a big difference, but they would still be living in poverty by Brazil's own standards.

    Dec 16th, 2017 - 01:01 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    The1.7 million beneficiaries in the article you linked, refers to nbr of people, or the roughly 485,000 families I mentioned. My figures are from the IBGE (Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia & Estatística – Bzln Institute of Geography & Statistics), the official agency for such matters. Just fyi, it was with them that Dilma picked a fight when she decided to create her own definition of poverty…to make the stats look rosy.

    By what I read briefly about the fund, the plan is to attend about 1,5 million people per year, so obviously it’s a long term program to try to fix the problem. No country with serious policies can resign itself to supporting an ever-growing population that lives off benefits...the problem must be attacked head on…not saying it’ll be easy, and in Brazil it definitely won’t be, but at least it’s a first step in the right direction, the one I’ve been advocating all along.

    So you finally agree that the BF should not be regarded as early retirement for those who are poor and don’t want to find a job.

    The PT always increased the minimum wage over inflation, which was not really a problem, because the minimum wage increase had already been disconnected from pension increases, with the exception of pensions that are actually equal to one minimum wage ; pensions over one minimum wage were adjusted by just a percentage just below inflation…so theoretically, lower and higher pensions would eventually converge…absolutely unfair, if you consider the differences in contributions made to the social security system for 35 years. The raw, naked fact is that it’s just a matter of time before Brazil goes bankrupt if the pension system isn’t reformed...and not just cosmetically.

    I have been to Bahia, Pernambuco (work & vacations) , Piaui and Manaus (only work) several times, between 10 and 20 years ago. Poverty and living conditions outside the city centers and the interior are what impressed me most, and by what I’ve read, not much has changed.

    Dec 16th, 2017 - 03:11 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    “No country with serious policies can resign itself to supporting an ever-growing population that lives off benefits”

    I agree with this. I did think that with the rise of automation, we might have to someday introduce a guaranteed basic income for everyone, because in the future there would be no more need for labour. But considering people I've known who were unemployed, and how I acted myself when I didn't have a job, I don't think it's a good idea. You might think if people didn't have to work for a living they would occupy themselves usefully, take up interesting hobbies etc. But that's not human nature.

    I suppose the money will go a bit further if they only include 1.5m people a year, but what are they planning to do with them? I do hope it does do some good, though.

    “So you finally agree that the BF should not be regarded as early retirement for those who are poor and don’t want to find a job.”

    No, I always thought that. I see the BF as primarily intended to increase income rather than replace work, and as I said, it's not expected for people to leave that type of program. Only if it discourages people from working is it an issue.

    Reading more about it, a lot of articles say the minimum wage in Brazil is linked by law to inflation and GDP growth in previous years. Is that still true?

    Why is it unfair for lower and higher pensions to converge? State pensions in the UK are based solely on how many years you paid in (up to 30), and not on how much. Employers are obliged by law to provide a pension scheme, so not too many people rely only on the state pension. I have increased my contributions above what is required, but my generation is still going to get screwed because of demographics.

    Sounds like you haven't visited those states for 10 years, so you wouldn't have much chance to see differences. You live in the richest state in Brazil and are obviously well off, how many poor people do you really know?

    Dec 16th, 2017 - 10:54 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    You’re right about human nature…it screws the world ; guaranteeing basic income for everyone, is a nice idea, but someone has to produce that income…something socialists/ populists doesn’t take into account. The fund to try to get BF recipients to fend for themselves (by teaching them a profession in some area they'll be useful) will obviously be replenished IF the results are encouraging. This also depends on the recipients, who I’d expect, should want to earn more than US$ 55 per month.

    “No, I always thought that. I see the BF as primarily intended to increase income rather than replace work…”; ok, it must be accompanied by measures to try to increase their income - hopefully the fund will provide this - otherwise they’ll have no incentive to improve.

    Re the MW increase (every 1st January), you’re right : inflation of previous year plus GDP growth of 2nd previous year. Despite the GDP of 2016/17 been negative, the MW variation can’t be negative, so the increase in 2018 will be only inflation.

    “Why is it unfair for lower and higher pensions to converge?”: if you contribute a fixed percentage of yr salary towards social security, based on 1 MW, or on 20 MW’s, the value chopped off your paycheck (even with a cap at the highest level) is very different ; theoretically, if someone on a pension of 1 MW, being increased 10% /year, will eventually catch up with a higher pension, being readjusted 5% /yr. So, why should an executive, who paid in 10, 15 times the value a garbage man did, get the same pension after 35 years contribution ? Here too, you can supplement yr pension by investing in specific funds.

    SP may be the richest state, but has plenty of poor people, and the fact I’ve not been north in 10 yrs is irrelevant – I‘ve family in Piaui, and very good friends living in Bahia ; they keep me upto date. As for ‘poor’ people I know, how about the Condo employees, and/or maids who work here ? average salaries vary btwn 1,5 and 2,5 MW p/mth, plus benefits.

    Dec 17th, 2017 - 09:55 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    “but someone has to produce that income”

    It's an idea for the future, when robots do most of the work. Not just physical labour, but someday AIs will probably take over a lot of mental work too. Maybe my job, or yours. The wealth would be created by machines, but hardly anyone will have a job, so who will be able to buy what the machines produce?

    Trouble is the economy is built on people being able to buy things. If no one can afford an iPhone there will be no Apple company. The minimum income would let people live decently and stop the economy collapsing, while robots did all the work. But I think it would encourage people to waste their time, and as long as you have enough to live on, it's achieving things not buying stuff that makes you happy.

    “So, why should an executive, who paid in 10, 15 times the value a garbage man did, get the same pension after 35 years contribution ?”

    I don't know, but that's exactly how it's always worked in the UK. The executive pays in more (though it is capped) and gets exactly the same (low) state pension as the binman when they both retire. If either of them want more they can pay into their employer's scheme, or a private one, and that pension will reflect their contributions.

    Really, some of the PT's plans are pretty similar to what we've had in the UK since before I was born. They don't seem outlandish at all.

    Re the minimum wage, do people get offered jobs paying specifically say '2.5x minimum wage', which then gets automatically increased along with the MW on 1st Jan? Or are they just offered some amount that is up to the employer to increase?

    How were the maids in your condo affected by the new employment laws in 2014?

    (And that's a strange thing to me; no one has a maid in the UK, it's something you only see in historical dramas or old books.)

    Dec 17th, 2017 - 11:10 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    Whether an idea for the future, or whenever, where income is going to come from cannot be ignored. And where d’you think it’ll come from ? When in a company, and you decide to invest…after defining the project, the question is, where’s the money coming from ? “I don't know, but that's exactly how it's always worked in the UK”…well, not here. Basically, one’s pension is proportional to how much you’ve contributed (which your salary, not you, determines) and for how long…totally logic. And if you want more, invest. And what PT plans, similar to the UK’s, are not so outlandish, in your opinion ? but before you reply, bear in mind the enormous difference in the social structure of the two countries and the enormous inequality in Brazil…don’t go off comparing Brazil to UK standards and think the same principles can apply. No, salaries are not pre-determined multiples of the MW. Depending on the job, you either accept what’s offered (market rate for simpler jobs, less qualifications), or you ask for what you think you are worth (executives etc). The new labour /employment laws have just been approved in the recent labour reform (2017)…generally speaking (generally, because it is impossible to attend the specific interests of everyone) the law has made the rules more flexible, attending a lot of what the workers have always wanted but were not allowed due to the rigidity of the previous rules), and made it easier (less expensive) to take on, maintain, or get rid of an employee. The previous rules were a nightmare for employers to get rid of someone, which in turn slowed down the creation of new jobs. In 2013 (I think), the PT created specific legislation for houseservants, giving the individual the exact same responsibilities a company had with its employees…many maids were sacked, as individuals could not bear the burden or the risk. The maids were happier before, because they negotiated their pay/work hours, suddenly the State intervened 'n screwed things.

    Dec 18th, 2017 - 10:00 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    In that plan for the future, the robots do the work and the people are just given money since there is no need for them to do anything. Obviously it would not work right now, as we still need people to make things and sell them and transport them and all the other jobs which people would not bother doing if they didn't have to.

    “And what PT plans, similar to the UK’s, are not so outlandish, in your opinion ?”

    Giving money to mothers with children via the BF, and making the state pension similar for everyone no matter how much you paid in. You mention the enormous inequality in Brazil, but how do you think the UK got less unequal? Once the government gave everyone the vote, they voted for pensions and child benefit and the NHS, and the government built council houses and cleared the slums.

    ”and made it easier (less expensive) to take on, maintain, or get rid of an employee.”

    Hopefully that will mean more (formal) jobs. But how easy is it now? One of my American colleagues said that there your boss can just come and fire you for any reason with no warning at all, which sounds awful. And you can just up and leave the same way, which sounds like a nightmare for the company with no time to train anyone else or pass your projects on.

    I don't see why maids shouldn't have the same rules as other workers, in terms of hours or pay. If it's okay for them to work for less than minimum wage or for more hours then why shouldn't other workers? Those maids you mentioned in your condo, are they employed by the condo itself or by people living there?

    Dec 19th, 2017 - 12:38 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • :o))

    @DT: “In that plan for the future, the robots do the work and the people are just given money since there is no need for them to do anything”:

    Why in the “future”? Exactly, that's what is happening right now - the “robots” do ALL the work and the politicians simply take money!

    Dec 19th, 2017 - 09:42 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    “..the people are just GIVEN money”…and it’s going to come from ? won’t work now, or in the future.

    State pension the same no matter how much you paid in ? that concept, to me, is so absurd, hardly worth’s tantamount to paying a brain surgeon and the garbage man the same salary, ignoring the responsibility ‘n the sacrifice of the former. When that happens, no one will want to be a doctor, just a garbage man.That’s communism at work, like in the USSR.

    The way to end inequality is giving everyone the SAME chance…to educate themselves, have access to decent healthcare etc…NOT only the state being Robin Hood…already in practice via Income Tax. This also presumes, a reasonably honest political class…you just can’t get away from thinking there is no reason why Brazil can’t be the same as the UK, can you ? it starts with education, the rest is up to the individual, not the State.

    The Labour reform focused on old laws (1940’s), in making them more flexible – where possible - to benefit the workers, as well as making it easier to take on , AND get rid unnecry employees. You’ve no idea of the values involved to maintain an employee, or to sack one, that’s why employers were/are wary of taking on…

    Re the US, you’re right…may sound awful, but it’s just awful compared to what you are used to. If you are brought up in that work culture, you accept it.

    House servants were always treated differently, due to the individual employer/employee relationship…both negotiated/agreed to the terms, and if the servant felt he/she got a raw deal when/if sacked, go to court. Ah, just fyi : they DO earn more than 1 MW, nearer to 2 ; The Condo has its employees (janitor, handyman, cleaners etc, to take care of the common areas, residents hire their own servants, if they want). It’s easy to see why the same rules can’t apply…if a maid wants to take the day off, replace the hours some otrher time, OK...but not with a factory floor worker. Big differences.

    Dec 19th, 2017 - 02:59 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    “and it’s going to come from ?”

    In this future there is no need to work, therefore land and raw materials are the only things that still have value. So either a tax on those things - land, minerals, oil, etc, or else the government owns them directly and sells the raw materials to generate income, and each citizen gets a share of the proceeds. Without human labour it should be much cheaper to produce food, housing, and goods and services, so the income needed could be quite low.

    It's a science fiction concept, but not impossible that this could begin in my lifetime.

    “that concept, to me, is so absurd, hardly worth discussing”

    And I never heard any suggestion it should be different, before this. No political party in the UK has suggested changing it. I don't know how it works in Brazil, but here it is just a tax, and if you pay more tax you get the same roads and schools and hospitals and police and fire service, as anyone else. Why would you expect a bigger pension? Besides, the state pension is barely enough to live on as it is so it couldn't be cut, and we couldn't possibly afford to pay some people more, we'd have the same problem Brazil is facing.

    “The way to end inequality is giving everyone the SAME chance…”

    I guess that was the point of the NHS, and other benefits. And after two world wars they couldn't say that ordinary people hadn't served the country; they deserved jobs and decent housing and free university education.

    With your dishonest politicians, it's obviously a risk giving them money to spend, and I think the rich people in Brazil do not believe the poor deserve to have enough food and decent housing and health care. Perhaps you need a war. :(

    I know what it takes to make someone redundant in the UK, since it happened to me, and it's quite a process. I'm glad I don't live in the US. I suppose people there are used to it, but all I see online is people complaining in what is meant to be one of the richest countries in the world.

    Dec 19th, 2017 - 06:45 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    Well, yes, I was about to say this sounds like science fiction, when I saw your 3rd line ; in this case there is no need to explain apparent inconsistencies in the probable future reality. Utopia. For a government to exist, under any form that is going to administer the ‘goods’, free to the people, ‘something’ has to be generated which fuels the government…cash, other goods ? by whom ? but ok, in science fiction anything is valid.

    As to the concept of equal pensions, regardless of what you may be accustomed to, consider this : since social security contributions are an investment for your future, and if you (can and do) contribute 10 times more than your neighbor, why should you both, in 35 years reap the exact same dividends ? Here it is not just a flat tax…the contribution – or the amount lopped off your paycheck every month – varies with the size of your salary.

    Road taxes (schools , hospitals etc) are totally different thing - here, given that the state should provide basic health (which where it does, is of poor quality) with tax payer money, we pay extra (and heavily ) for private health plans…Roads taxes, while also part of the infrastructure paid for by the State, with our money, are paid only by those who use a car….take a salary of let’s say, US$ 15,000/month, yr contribution being US$ 1,000 ; you obviously have a standard of living in accordance with that salary….under your perspective, when I retire, I’ll have to do with US$ 300 per month ? hardly. Tantamount to moving out of the Condo and into the slum.

    It seems that the State pension systems are facing problems all over the world, yours, ours, so what’s the solution ? neither work satisfactorily, but when some (ours) have such enormous and obvious discrepancies, which lead to the deficit, the first step is to correct them. That is what Temer is trying to do, and is what the public servants (current/ future) are against…obviously !!!!

    Dec 20th, 2017 - 12:34 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    It's science fiction, but the kind that is a speculation on the future, because it could happen. Personally I don't think it sounds like a utopia at all; it's an extension of what we see in America now. Factories close and move to Mexico, and the workers lose their jobs. Later the factory moves back to the US, but it's all automated. They only need 30 employees where they had 300 before. The same amount of goods get produced but the workers are unemployed. Now consider transport. Lots of people work as lorry drivers and taxi drivers. Google creates a self-driving car and soon they are unemployed too. Then office jobs. We make some software to plan advertising campaigns, and now two people can do that job instead of 20. Ditto logistics, financial planning, everything. The same goods and services are produced, but by much less people. What do all the newly unemployed do to make a living?

    For your person earning US$15,000 per month = £11,192.40 (a very high salary here), they would pay £517.21 NI and after retiring get about £530 per month from the government. Also NI funds other benefits like Jobseeker's Allowance and Maternity pay, besides pensions. But the money isn't saved or invested, they simply use my contributions to pay current pensions (including those of posters here), and the next generation will have to pay for mine.

    People here think of the state pension the way you do about healthcare. It's enough to live on, but just barely. Everyone who isn't broke or stupid pays extra for a private or company pension. I honestly think there's more chance it might be cut for those who are well off (and therefore would have paid more contributions) than the reverse.

    And yes, all schemes are having problems due to demographics. People are living longer so spending more years on a pension, while the number working is not rising. By allowing such early retirement, Brazil's laws make this problem much more acute.

    Dec 20th, 2017 - 07:47 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    With less people working - already a reality - and more being laid off, or unable to get employment, there is going to be less salary mass, but you still advocate that the unemployed are going to be 'looked after' , even though there is no way they can make a living....that is exactly my question, as there is no such thing as a free lunch.

    Our realities are totally different ; The probability of them converging in the near future, is very remote, as the human factor (anglo-saxon origin for the UK, and the Latin culture for Brazil) will take care of that.

    Dec 20th, 2017 - 09:12 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    What do you suggest we do if this happens, and a large percentage of the population ends up unemployed and with no prospect of finding work? If nothing is done you'll end up with a revolution, and not the kind that ends with a nice stable democracy. We can hope that new jobs appear to replace the ones that are lost, but who knows if that will happen?

    What I am afraid of is that our realities will converge - in the direction of Brazil, as wealth here becomes more concentrated. So long as the rich need workers, that gives the workers economic power, as well as power at the ballot box. But if we lose the first, then I think the second will soon follow.

    Something else to know about pensions in the UK, is that for many years public sector jobs have had lower salaries than the private sector, but much better benefits like pensions. This was a 'clever' way for governments to save money in the present, by promising more money in the future. Now the bill is coming due, and that is the other problem we face. (These are not the same as the state pension, but effectively an employer scheme that the employees contribute to from their salary, which pay out a percentage of that person's final salary.)

    Dec 20th, 2017 - 11:03 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • :o))

    Finally; the Bottom-Line - The TRUTH - revealed:

    Dec 20th, 2017 - 11:29 pm - Link - Report abuse 0

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