Despite the absurdity, the “argument” of “stay at home, the economy will be seen later” has become a “jack of all trades” in President Jair Bolsonaro’s permanent effort to escape his responsibilities. The idea, authentic “fake news”, has been used as the main excuse to get out and say that the calamitous situation of the economy is not with him. But not only.
Now the “stay at home” talk is also being taken away to take the body out of the heavy inflation of 2021, which flew to 10.06% in 2021. The variation of the IPCA (Broad Consumer Price Index) closed the year passed with almost double the ceiling of the tolerance range of the target system.
This Wednesday (12), in an interview with a Bolsonarista website, Bolsonaro once again resorted to the “argument” to skip the part that his government has in the escalation of inflation. “With the stay-at-home policy, the production chain has suffered bumps and inflation is a natural issue,” Bolsonaro said, in his twisted language.
It has been proven that, unlike the Bolsonarist excuse, the lockdowns and social distancing measures adopted in the first wave of the pandemic reduced the damage caused by Covid-19 to the economy. Where, around the world, the isolation measures were tougher and adopted quickly, the recovery of the economy has been faster and more intense.
It was not the “stay at home” that determined the stoppage of activities, but the advance of the pandemic. This is so true that one more proof is being offered by the reality of the facts at this very moment. Amid the rapid spread of the omicron variant, although there is still no enactment of lockdown, distancing and isolation, there are already activities suspended or with plans to reduce opening hours because masses of workers are infected. Repeat: activities are stopping before legal determinations so you stay home.
Bolsonaro and Bolsonaristas do not even care about the contradictions of the “argument” – this is the style already known – even in the face of statements by prominent figures in the government. If “stay at home” is to blame for the situation of the economy, then how can Economy Minister Paulo Guedes boast that economic activity has registered a “V” recovery?
Urban mobility records prove that, in the first wave of covid-19, in 2020, people were already practicing isolation and social distancing before the decree, by governors and mayors, of restrictions on travel. What promoted a “stay at home” movement was the widespread fear of contagion caused by the collapse of health systems and the consequent acceleration of deaths.
Other records also show that, even with the removal of restrictions, the population was reluctant to return to the normality of social mobility while hospitalizations and deaths did not reflow consistently. This only happened with the advance of vaccination, which evolved positively, even surprisingly, even with the authentic sabotage promoted by the government, under the inspiration and leadership of Bolsonaro.
This point of vaccination is even highlighted by the Central Bank, in the open letter released this Tuesday (11), to justify the overflow of the inflation target in 2021. “With regard to economic activity, the year 2021 was marked by the advance of the vaccination campaign and the process of normalization of economic activity started in the second half of 2020”, describes the official document.
Despite the “stay at home”, for the BC there was “rapid economic recovery, causing GDP (Gross Domestic Product) to arrive in the first quarter of 2021 at levels similar to those in force before the outbreak of the pandemic”. This occurred, according to the BC, due to the “wide range of governmental policies adopted”. Bolsonaro’s “stay at home” did not enter the monetary authority’s thoughts.
When the economy started to lose strength, starting in the second quarter of last year, lockdowns and restrictions were already starting to be abandoned, having practically ceased to exist in the following quarters, in the period when the economy went backwards. In other words, the activity, driven by transfers of public resources to the vulnerable and companies, defined in Congress, advanced during the “stay at home” and started to prorate when the “stay at home” ended. The Earth is not flat and reality rules out “stay at home” as a reasonable explanation of what is happening in the economy.
The same is true for inflation. It is not possible to blame the “stay at home”, except in the Bolsonarista delusions, for a heightened inflation, in Brazil, for federal inaction in the face of automatic transfers of international oil prices, and high energy tariffs, for governmental mismanagement of a announced water crisis caused by climate problems.
Nor can “stay at home” be blamed for the lack of foresight, planning and measures to prevent favorable conditions in the foreign market from leaving the domestic market short of food. There is no other explanation for the paradox of violent food inflation in one of the world’s leading food producers.
A far cry from “stay at home” is the upward pressure on dollar quotations, a key factor in the rise in prices, caused, among other reasons, by the insecurity transmitted by the government in the management of public spending and public debt. The defaults and fiscal pedals, in conjunction with breaks in spending control rules, promoted by the government, which collaborated to push the exchange rate uphill and boost inflation, have nothing to do with “stay at home”.
Clearly, justifying economic problems with the idea of ”stay at home” makes no sense. It only serves as a delusional “argument” for a ruler who, out of cowardice, does not assume his responsibilities.