End of emergency aid will throw millions of people into misery

Caption: Graffiti demanding emergency aid until the end of the recession and against the election, in Montes Claros, North of Minas Gerais.

Emergency aid will stop with the end of 2020, after 11:59 p.m. on December 31. The program was created in March by the federal government to help informal workers during the new coronavirus pandemic. The aid will end precisely when there is a new surge in Covid19 cases in the country.

According to a survey by the Observatory of Metropolises and the Observatory of Social Debt in Latin America (PUC-RS), the aid prevented 23 million Brazilians living in large metro areas from falling into poverty.

Another survey, this time by Datafolha, published on December 21 in the Folha de São Paulo newspaper, showed that 36% of the families who received the aid had no other source of income.

The five installments of R$600 and the four of R$300 benefited 67.8 million people, according to data from the Caixa Econômica Federal (CEF).

Created in March, after an agreement made by Congress and the Planalto [the president’s office], the aid initially would be R$200 at the will of the fascist president and his economic team. However, realizing that this would further aggravate the crisis of bureaucratic capitalism in the country, causing misery and social and political instability with the threat of popular protests, the representatives of the so-called ‘center’ and the civil-military right pushed for the amount to increase to R$600.

EVEN BEFORE THE END OF THE AID, THE POPULAR MASSES WERE HARMED

Marked by delay and bureaucracy, the first installments of the aid were disbursed with many difficulties, causing long lines of workers in CEF’s agencies. The difficulty of having their names approved for the aid caused workers, outraged by the negligence, to destroy CEF agencies and ATMs.

In an interview on December 15, Jair Bolsonaro said: “Aid is emergency, the very name says: emergency. We can not keep signaling to extend, extend and extend.”

With the end of the emergency aid in 2021, the trend is that the crisis that devastates the country will deepen even more, since the economy is far from having a significant recovery. Unemployment trends continue to grow, and Covid19 cases are returning with force and reaching the grim number of 1,000 deaths a day, a fact that comes just after the electoral farce, in which all the reactionary political forces unified around the massive propaganda of the obligation to vote.

“When we add the second wave of Covid, activity restriction and new quarantine with the end of emergency aid, we see a very complicated situation in the first half of 2021,” says Sergio Vale, chief economist and partner at MB Associados.

A statistic that serves as a parameter for next year is that with the reduction of aid from $600 to $300, 75% of families have already reduced the purchase of food, and 65% decreased the purchase of medicines. Also according to Datafolha surveys.

Another factor pointed out by the economist is the debt, mainly among the poorest population, during this period of pandemic and recession.

According to him, in an attempt to maintain the pattern of consumption with the loss of income in the pandemic, people took out loans, especially those consigned for retirees. This led poorer families to rely on the income of retirees in the income composition.

“Families have gone into debt and should reach 2021 with reduced consumption capacity,” says Vale.

THE CROSSROADS OF REACTIONARIES

From the very beginning we have stated that this reactionary government is doomed to division. Paulo Guedes and company, supporters of “fiscal austerity” and cuts in rights, seek only one prospect: “fiscal security”. In other words, it matters to him to send the following message to international financial capital: “invest” here so that we may guarantee your morbid rentism, even if it is by forcing the people to go hungry and without any rights. As part of this, these henchmen demand to maintain the “spending ceiling”, so that the country may, among other things, impose a 20-year freeze on investments in health, education, etc., in addition to reducing spending on jobs and other state monopolies.

In turn, the generals, with their counterrevolutionary policy of trying to defuse the radicalization of the class struggle and stop the mass rebellion, seek as the central axis of economic policy to try to mitigate the crisis, betting on the prescription of the bureaucratic fraction of the local big bourgeoisie, shabby anti-worker “developmentalism” and homeland sales. Relying on public indebtedness to generate extensive occupation of the labor force, “quick jobs,” “recovering purchasing power,” backed by massive corporatist and voter-oriented welfarism, they intend to hold on to a large part of the impoverished and miserable masses. For no other reason and purpose, they imposed emergency aid, fearing deeply the explosion of looting and great instability in the face of the hunger that large contingents of the masses were already experiencing and into which many would suddenly sink. With the aid, although not enough to ensure sustenance and end people’s hunger, it was possible to momentarily mitigate the sense of abandonment and contempt, real abandonment and contempt that these governments and the old state dispense to our people. The central concern of all this policy is the inevitable social degradation, which is getting worse every day and about to become, in a leap, social chaos and great mass rebellions.

This is an unofficial translation of an article published on the A Nova Democracia website on December 31.

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