Bolsonaro shells out $millions for pension reform votes

R$40 million in pork for every congressman who votes for deep austerity cuts to the pension system.

The right wing extremist government of Jair Bolsonaro has opened the pork barrel and is offering R$40 million to each congressman who votes in favor of privatizing the national pension system fund, lowering minimum benefits and raising the retirement age. According to Folha de São Paulo newspaper, Bolsonaro’s Chief of Staff, arms industry shill Onyx Lorenzoni (DEM) (who admitted to using an illegal corporate slush fund to finance his congressional campaign in 2017) offered an extra R$40 million for parliamentary amendments to each congressman who votes in favor of changing the constitution and ratifying the pension reform bill, which is based on a similar measure implemented during the bloody Augusto Pinochet dictatorship in Chile in 1980, during a period in which all opposition was brutally repressed. With starvation level retirement payments, Chile currently has one of the highest rates of suicide among senior citizens in the world.

Every Brazilian congressman currently receives an average of R$15 million per year for funding infrastructure projects and investments in their home state. Lazeroni’s offer would see funding increase by R$10 million a year for a period of 4 years only for congressmen who vote in favor of pension reform.

This announcement immediately provoked outrage among the Congressional opposition. Carlos Zarattini (PT-São Paulo) said, “This is the new politics that they said they would do, but its using old fashion methods.” Congressman Paulo Pimenta said, “only a fool would imagine that Onyx Lorenzoni and Jair Bolsonaro would be any different.”


By Brian Mier

Writer, geographer and former development professional who has lived in Brazil for 26 years. Former directorate member of the Fórum Nacional de Reforma Urbana (National Urban Reform Forum). Has lived in São Luis, Recife, Salvador, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Author of “Os Megaeventos Esportivos na Cidade do Rio de Janeiro e o Direito á Cidade” (CEPR: Porto Alegre. 2016). Editor of "Voices of the Brazilian Left" (Sumare: São Paulo. 2018). Editor of "Year of Lead: Washington, Wall Street and the New Imperialism in Brazil" ((Sumare: São Paulo. 2019) Irregular correspondent for the Chicago radio show This is Hell.