Opinion by Michael Royster
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL — Everybody likes to do lists this time of year, and the Curmudgeon is no exception. The Crystal Ball has been uncovered, and revealed ten (10) things. Read on.
1. Dilma will not be impeached. Recent STF decisions have gutted the powers of the Chamber of Deputies and its leaders in favor of the Senate, where Dilma supporters are in the majority.
2. Dilma will not resign. She is nothing if not stubborn, and she still believes she was cut out to guide Brazil onto the path of “true” socialism. Most of her favorite economic policies do not recognize the Fall of the Wall in 1989, much less the defeats of Chávez and Kirchner.
3. Dilma’s 2014 election victory will not be disallowed by the TSE. That court, which can overturn an election for abuses of power during election campaigns, has far too many judges who feel abuses of power are perfectly normal behaviour for incumbents, hence should not be punishable.
4. Dilma will insist upon implementing the same disastrous economic policies that produced the current debacle: she still thinks problems can be solved by throwing money at them. Dilma will join other populist panderers to scuttle any change in the disastrous social security legislation that allows workers to retire at age fifty on full pay and adjusts pensions by more than the minimum salary increase.
5. Congress, state and municipal legislatures will continue to be the same corrupt slough of despond they have long been, with elected representatives thinking not about the good of the people, but about how to line their own pockets before going to jail.
6. Ambitious Brazilian politicians, unable to find space for themselves in the more than thirty already established political parties, will continue to form new parties, standing for nothing at all other than their founder’s self-aggrandizement. In the meantime, PT and PSDB will see their membership drop, leaving the field to PMDB.
7. Brazil’s economy will continue to grow worse, with both inflation and unemployment staying in double figures all year long. The current recession will deteriorate into a full blown depression in 2016.
8. The U.S. dollar will remain above R$4,00 and may hit R$5,00 as government economists (meaning Dilma) continue to dig after hitting rock bottom. Foreign investment will not grow with that theoretically beneficial scenario, because of Brazil’s political insecurity.
9. The October elections for mayors and city councilmen (“vereadores”) will prove once again that Brazilians repeatedly vote for candidates they know to be churls, because the churls have promised them a better life—or at least some more spending money.
10. The 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic and Paralympic Games will be a great success, particularly for the crooked cartel of construction companies and their political cronies who have combined to create billion-dollar cost overruns.
During 2016, The Curmudgeon will continue to believe that Brazil is a serious country, or at least would be if its voters ever ceased electing crooks to public office.