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Published on Jan 29, 2019
The Bolsonaro administration defines itself as “conservative in customs and morals” and “liberal in economics.” While there is uncertainty, fear, and skepticism about the broader goals of the administration, the economic program is off to a good start. The new economic team headed by Paulo Guedes is committed to economic liberalization and has promised to act with boldness and urgency. What it may lack in experience is compensated by its willingness to embrace the best parts of the 2017-2018 agenda. On the fiscal side, the promise is to deepen and accelerate the change. Reform of the social security system must happen first and should take place in 2019. Otherwise the debt burden will overwhelm the economy. The administration must also address a crippling infrastructure, misguided regulatory constraints, and a burdensome tax system to recover growth to a rate beyond the paltry sub-2% average of the last decade. The agenda is daunting. A distinguished group of panelists set forth and define challenges, expectations, and possible outcomes for Brazil in 2019.