Bolsonaro speeds up payments to the poor as election looms
MANUEL BERISTO, JOAO ALVÃO, Brazil — Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, is accelerating his program to transfer income from Brazil’s wealthy to the poor in a bid to win votes ahead of the Oct. 7 national elections, according to a leaked document.
The document is dated June 28 and is published in the newspaper O Globo newspaper on Thursday under the headline, “Bolsonaro’s ‘Poverty Plan’ to be accelerated.” It was leaked from the Federal Council of Workers’ Day.
In the document, published less than two months before the polls, Bolsonaro says that in July, the federal government will transfer funds from the income tax to the minimum payment, which means the poorest Brazilian families will get a combined amount of between 50 percent and 60 percent of the national income, depending on the source of that income.
The document does not say how much money will be transferred, but the amount will be enough to create a poverty line in the federal minimum wage, which is currently about R$ 1,000 a month in Brazil.
The document, which was obtained in an online document leak, has not been confirmed by Bolsonaro’s government. The government has not responded to requests for comment.
The timing of the document is important.
In the October parliamentary election, the minimum wage will be lower than the maximum amount guaranteed by the Constitution.
The minimum wage is already at the lowest level in more than two decades, and is only about R$ 1,000 a month.
Bolsonaro’s government wants to raise the minimum wage to R$ 3,000 a month because it thinks it will have better public support. There can be no increase in the minimum wage while the economy is recovering.
The minimum wage was intended to be a measure of a minimum standard of living. But Brazil’s inflation rate rose to more than 10 percent last year, and Brazilians are having to live on half the minimum wage. Bolsonaro’s government has repeatedly said it wants to do more to help workers.
The document obtained by O Globo includes a list of what it said was