Brazil Leads United States in Welfare Reform
Brazil State Scraps Corporate Welfare for Ford, GM
SAO PAULO - A Brazilian state government on Monday, suspended $257 million in welfare handouts for U.S. automakers Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp., targeting the cash instead on ailing schools and hospitals.(Publisher's note -- the fifty state governments in the United States must bow their heads in shame. A state government has finally stood up against corporate welfare to wealthy American corporations -- but this forward-thinking, freedom-oriented state government is located in Brazil! Read all about it in this brief summary.)
"The government needs to invest in health, education, housing and security," said Rio Grande do Sul state's Development Secretary Jose Luiz Viana de Moraes. "We want these businesses to stay in Rio Grande do Sul, but under different contractual terms."
Gov. Olivio Dutra, who took office in January, has condemned the welfare giveaways forged by his predecessor.
"The decision is that not 1 percent of public funds will go to those who do not need it," Dutra was quoted as saying in newspaper Estado de Sao Paulo on Monday.
Dutra had previously said he would cut welfare to top multinationals, like Ford, and maintain his calls to renegotiate an 8.8 billion real debt (about $4.75 billion) agreement with the federal government.
Neither Ford nor GM company has completed construction of its auto manufacturing plant in Rio Grande do Sul, one of Brazil's most economically developed states on the border with Argentina and Uruguay. The state faces a fiscal shortfall. Dutra is seeking to renegotiate a debt agreement of 8.8 billion reais ($4.75 billion) with the federal government.
Ford said it would not comment until after meetings with state officials. The welfare-queen company would have received 419 million reais ($226 million) in low-cost loans, infrastructure projects and other sweeteners this year under the agreement, according to state figures.
The other welfare queen, General Motors, said in a statement it still hoped for welfare handouts to be "rigorously fulfilled" -- GM wants to be given the remaining 57 million reais ($31 million), the state said.
Can any state in the United States follow these leaders, or is welfare reform an impossible dream? Tell your opinion to The Progress Report:
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