Cutting salary privileges of Brazil’s government employees would pay for extension of Covid cash help for 53 million people.

The 1-month extension of Brazil’s R$ 600 emergency cash payment will cost R$ 32 billion. VirtuNews proposes a list of immediate cuts in spending to pay this without increasing the country’s debt.

Now is the moment for government employees to make their contribution to help support the country’s poorest and neediest.

The Brazilian government’s one-month extension of its R$ 600 Covid emergency assistance payment will cost R$ 32 billion. How to finance this without increasing the public debt?

In a crisis, we all have to make sacrifices. One employee group that has yet to contribute its share is the elite group of Brazil’s government workers.

While employees in the private sector lose their jobs, or have to accept temporary salary cuts, Brazil’s government workers continue to enjoy their lifetime job security (under the Constitution), receive full salary, and even get promotions and a raise.

And the ‘potentates’ of the judiciary, who receive the highest salaries in Brazil’s public administration, continue to receive significant benefits and privileges.

In an absurd example, one of them – Mato Grosso State Attorney-General José Antonio Borges Pereira – even had the cheek to approve a ‘Covid-19 bonus’ of R$ 500 for the state’s employees, and another, of R$ 1,000, for state attorneys and prosecutors.

It is time for the public sector to make its contribution, helping to finance the poorest and neediest sector of Brazil’s population.

Our list of immediate cuts

VirtuNews met with the Head of Technical Intelligence at Brazil’s Public Leadership Centre (CLP) – economist Daniel Duque – to propose to government and Congress a list of immediate expense cuts to pay this R$ 32 billion in emergency assistance for the needy without increasing the public debt.

There are four items:

1)    Abolish the extras enjoyed by elite public employees: R$ 2 bn/year.

These include: a grant (yes) to buy a suit; cash assistance for travel; an official car (every member of Congress has one, with driver); and an amount to pay rent of a home.

All normal Brazilians (obviously) have to pay these expenses from their salaries.

But members of Congress, and judges, are a breed apart. As well as a generous salary they also get these benefits, costing the country an aggregate R$ 2 billion per year – that’s R$ 4 billion, over two years.

2)    Freeze state and municipal workers’ salaries for 18 months: R$ 15 bn.

Both President Bolsonaro and economy minister Paulo Guedes have said they will maintain this freeze, which would save R$ 15 billion.

3)    Freeze the salaries of federal government workers for 18 months: R$ 5 bn.

This adds a further saving of R$ 5 billion.

4)    Cut the judiciary’s vacation payments for two years: R$ 8 bn.

All lawyers, judges and prosecutors have two months’ paid vacations per year. Cutting these payments would save R$ 8 billion.

Simply by cutting the state’s total expenses on one of the country’s most privileged group of employees, these four measures would save the R$ 32 billion needed to pay one more month of the Covid emergency payment without increasing public debt.

Ok, CongressVirtuNews has shown you the way: let’s get to work!

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