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Opinion – Vinicius Torres Freire: A banker explains who teases Haddad at the farm


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Why is part of finance campaigning against Fernando Haddad in the Ministry of Finance?

The head of a national bank responds, first, that “it doesn’t matter.” “The market”, entrepreneurs etc. have not influenced these nominations “in over 50 years,” he says.

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Then, the executive laughs and opens a cardboard folder with copies of old Haddad interviews, underlined with a yellow marker. “There are people who get involved with this here”, he says, and quotes excerpts.

In interviews in 2018, when he was not yet a presidential candidate, Haddad spoke, for example, of revoking part of the labor reform (such as the one that greatly increased the risk of workers having to pay the cost of a lawsuit and, thus, repressed the number of lawsuits).

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In another, he says that the PT would attack the “oligopoly patrimonialism” of the banks and their high interest rates, which could be remedied with higher taxes. He also talks about using part of the international reserves (savings in hard currency kept at the Central Bank) in order to finance public investments and use state-owned ones in development plans.

Moreover, Haddad defended tax reform similar to that of the best projects out there. Throughout the 2018 campaign, he would say little about the economy.

That’s it? Old and vague interviews? Haddad can’t be thinking otherwise? He might as well, replies the banker, “but nobody knows what he thinks now or what he will be able to think”.

That is, it is not known how much autonomy Haddad would have or how much interest or ability he would have to change Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s opinions.

The executive comments that Lula seems “more full of himself” than he did in 2002. Furthermore, he made repeated speeches against those who demand a program to curb public debt.

He says that “Haddad is not very easy going, he doesn’t listen very well, he’s not skilled like [Antonio] Palocci”, the most “reformist” Lula 1 finance minister, from 2003 to 2006. He also notes that Haddad seems suspicious when asked to open up his ideas and is “very loyal to Lula”. On the other hand, he is “undoubtedly, the most prepared of those out there, not just among those who want to be a minister”.

But that doesn’t solve it either. “Without a program, without a fiscal plan and without a team, what they say about him is just gossip”. Because?

Because it is not known what Lula thinks and the political strength that any finance minister will have to make changes and the “dirty work” (cost containment).

For the executive, Lula 3 may have different economic policies, all he needs is a “technical foundation and people to work with”, but in the “fiscal issue there is never anything to invent and the situation is bad”.

He says he is less pessimistic than the economists, the house and others. “It’s possible to fix the inspector. Without doing anything silly, the country grows more than they are predicting, the revenue [de impostos] the debt will be greater [pública] it rises a little, private investment has been triggered, the reforms have already helped a little, the country may be calmer with Lula. It’s okay to take it.”

Basically, this means that the extra spending in 2023 must be measured and that there must be a new ceiling rule, a limiter for debt growth (spending less than income for many years, starting soon).

Who would be the ideal finance minister? “It could also be Haddad or someone else. [‘do mercado’] dreams of this idea of ​​​​a prestigious economist. It’s no use if you don’t have the political capacity and support from Lula and Congress to do the basics.” “There are many people who pretend to be informed, but the fact is that we have no idea what Lula is going to do. That’s what matters and it’s scary.”

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