Tax Transparency and a Fairer Brazil

The worst thing about Brazilians taxes—which are the heaviest of any country in the hemisphere—is not the amount of tax paid or how government often misuses them, but rather that Brazilians don’t even know how much tax they pay in the first place. This past week, the Folha de Sao Paulo reported that the average Brazilian will work from January 1 to May 29 for government, just to pay taxes. Is it fair that hard-working Brazilians spend almost half of the year working for a government that provides them with services of questionable...

Continue reading

Impeached Ex-President Pockets Brazilian Freedom of Information Law

A surprising turn of events threatens to de-rail President Dilma Rousseff’s bid for greater governmental openness and transparency in Brazil. Brazil was on track to pass its long awaited freedom of information (FOI) law on May 3rd, World Press Day—  a deadline set by Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff just after President Barack Obama’s mid-March visit. More than 90 countries now possess freedom of information laws, and twelve of them are in Latin America— minus Brazil. Until Rousseff’s declaration of support in mid-April, the...

Continue reading

More Census Results for Brazil– Inequality and Poverty

How are inequality and poverty best addressed? Successive governments have focused on conditional cash transfers, such as Bolsa Escola and Bolsa Familia, in which money goes to parents in return for keeping their children at school, among other conditions. These programs have diminished absolute poverty and helped ensure that future generation will gain the basic skills they need to move themselves out of marginalization. Yesterday, the Jornal Globo reported that Brazil has 16.2 million people–almost 10 percent of the...

Continue reading

Census 2010: By the Numbers

The 2010 Brazilian Census came out about a week ago, and it reveals some startling numbers. Illiteracy Almost 10 percent of Brazilians remain illiterate, despite the rate falling from 13.6 percent in 2000. Although this is a remarkable drop in historical terms, authorities view the reality to be much brighter for youth; the  illiterate segment of the population is concentrated in the 60-plus age group, where nearly 27 percent of people cannot read, reports the Jornal Globo. Whiteness Other interesting news from the 2010 census, the number of...

Continue reading