What Brazil’s elections can teach America

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OPINION:

Brazil held a presidential election last Sunday. Here’s how the Wall Street Journal reported the result: “Brazilians elected Luiz ‘Lula’ da Silva again as president on Sunday, ousting incumbent Jair Bolsonaro by less than 2% of the vote. Latin America’s biggest country is once again betting on the left-wing populism that has so often failed in the past.

Did that last part sound familiar, because it’s so often reproduced here? To repeat: “left populism…which has so often failed in the past.”


Liberalism, even socialism extending in some countries to communism, continues to spread in South and Central America. Why?

I think it has something to do with intentions and feelings. It doesn’t matter that an idea or a program works, only that people feel good about themselves defending it. In this failed philosophy, intentions matter more than results.

Luiz da Silva has sworn to help the poor. If he had the power and the will to help the poor, presumably to lift themselves out of poverty rather than keep them there, why did he not do so during his two previous presidencies, from 2003 to 2011? Has anyone in the media, or his opponent, bothered to ask him that question? And what about the voters? Why would they vote for someone who failed to perform twice?

The North American Liberals promise a better life for people who vote for them. Record spending on anti-poverty programs has failed to reverse poverty and yet people continue to vote for the Liberal Democrats, believing their promises to be empty. Instead, we get higher taxes, more debt, and a social program that is tearing the country apart.

A few years ago I wrote a book called “What Works: Common Sense Solutions for a Stronger America”. In it, I tried to bridge the gap between left and right by asking lawmakers to focus on programs that worked and discard those that failed.

This is how businesses operate. If a sales plan isn’t working and the competition is doing better, you have two choices: double down on failure or switch plans. It is only in government that failed and costly programs go on forever. A government office, as Ronald Reagan once said, “is the closest thing to eternal life we ​​will ever see on this earth!”

With a Republican majority expected in the House and possibly the Senate after next week’s midterm elections, Republicans need to focus on cutting spending by reviewing and retaining programs that work and repealing those that don’t. fall short of their legislative objectives. Social Security and Medicare must also be reformed to preserve both programs. The left will go about their usual tactics lest the Republicans want to eliminate at once. The GOP better have a credible answer this time.

What could be coming for Brazil was also summed up by the Journal: Da Silva “won with his appeals to the poor despite his conviction for corruption. Before his Workers’ Party (PT) ceded power in 2016, he orchestrated the biggest corruption scheme in Latin American history, using the national development bank, the state oil company, Congress and private entrepreneurs. The slot machine was designed to anchor his party in power.

Sound familiar? It is not common sense to continue to vote for politicians who make promises and do not keep and who are at the same time tainted by corruption.

Brazil and much of the rest of Latin America are flirting with economic, social and political disaster by embracing left-wing populism. North Americans would do well to take note and vote accordingly and intelligently.

• Readers can email Cal Thomas at [email protected] Look for Cal Thomas’ latest book, “America’s Expiration Date: The Fall of Empires and Superpowers and the Future of the United States” (HarperCollins/Zondervan).

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