All three spheres of government – the executive, Congress and the judiciary – are using the pandemic as a passport to practice fiscal irresponsibility. For them, it’s a chance to vote themselves and their employees salary raises and benefits that swell Brazil’s permanent public-sector expense.

Brazil’s Public Leadership Centre (Centro de Liderança PúblicaCLP) is heading mobilization of many organizations to press Congress to approve three measures that are essential to hold back this wave of irresponsibility:

  • freeze salaries and benefits of all federal workers;
  • eliminate tag-on expense benefits (travel, home, transport);
  • approve an administrative reform that will create new career structures to reward government employees for performance, merit and competence.

While Brazil rises firmly to the top of the world Covid 19 deaths ranking, state corporatism continues to assassinate the country at home.

By giving in to pressure from government workers, Congress, President Bolsonaro and the judiciary have become accomplices to a major crime against the nation: creation of a State that is broken, inefficient and unable to provide quality service to the people, and leaving it to our descendants.

Public and private sector salaries

The disparity in salaries and benefits between Brazil’s private and public sectors has become enormous.

According to the Ipea research Institute, Brazil has 11.5 million government workers, costing the public funds R$ 725 billion per year. The study reports that their average monthly salary is R$ 4,200, while in the private sector it is R$ 2,400.

  • Every Brazilian public employee has lifetime job security. In the private sector an employee can, of course, be dismissed if he does his job inadequately.

In the real world, a worker is promoted when he proves merit and competence at his job. In the public sector, promotion comes automatically with time of service – that is to say, both the competent and the incompetent can rise to the top of the career.

Covid is the passport to fiscal irresponsibility

The state has become Brazil’s greatest propagator of inequality: at the peak of the Covid pandemic, with private sector workers’ income, and tax revenue, plummeting, Congress and the president have allowed an increase in salaries and benefits for state and municipal workers. The judiciary has joined in the celebration, and also granted benefits and bonuses to its members.

The Covid crisis has thus become a passport to fiscal irresponsibility.

At this time of emergency it is the state’s duty to help the poorest and most vulnerable people, small and medium-sized companies that are in difficulty, and the public health system.

But these increases in permanent spending arising from state corporatism have no logical connection to this current emergency.

Three actions to combat fiscal irresponsibility

What can we, as the public, do to brake this high fiscal irresponsibility by the three branches of government?

We can press Congress to approve three essential measures:

  1. Freeze salaries and benefits of all government employees (municipal, state and federal).
  2. End ancillary benefits (such as travel, housing and transport expenses).
  3. Pass an administrative reform creating a new career structure for government workers based on performance, merit and competence.

It is time to act – timefor associations that are working on approval of this agenda to join forces.

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