It seems that the massive public spending programs that Brazil embarked on under previous president Luiz Ignacio Lula de Silva will be unsustainable in the near future if economic news like this keeps turning up..
Foreign investment in the Brazilian stock market has fallen off 70% in the first half of 2011. It's true that the previous year had abnormal growth, but this current drop is very serious. Credit growth has slowed and inflation has increased. Meanwhile, the inclination of strong governmental involvement in private enterprise in various sectors has further dampened foreign investment interest. Inflation has forced benchmark interest rates to 12.5% and rising.
Over-ambitious development has been the stimulus to inflation. Finished-product imports from such trading partners as China have outstripped any balance in exports. Brazil doesn't even have adequate fertilizer production, and that kind of thing hurts its agricultural exports. But the biggest shortfall has been in the field of petroleum production from its Obama-lauded deep well off-shore drilling. Far more outside investment is necessary to profitably exploit these considerable oil reserves. And here is where Lula's famous tight government oversight and control (read: socialist management) comes into negative play."
I've never been much of a fan of simply doling out federal funds to recipients. It creates a class of dependency. What if times are bad and the government decides to stop funding these payments? I think Arthur C. Brooks accurately describes what I think would be a much more preferrable arrangement between government and it's more needy citizens...
People flourish when they earn their own success. It's not the money per se, which is merely a measure -- not a source -- of this earned success. More than any other system, free enterprise enables people to earn success and thereby achieve happiness. For that reason, it is not just an economic alternative but a moral imperative.
People think that they will be happier if they have more money, but quickly find out that they're mistaken. When people are asked what income they require for a satisfying life, they consistently respond -- regardless of their income -- that they would need an income about 40 percent higher than whatever they're earning at the time.
Benjamin Franklin (a pretty rich man for his time) grasped the truth about money's inability to deliver life satisfaction. "Money never made a man happy yet, nor will it," he declared. "The more a man has, the more he wants. Instead of filling a vacuum, it makes one."
If money without earned success does not bring happiness, then redistributing money won't make for a happier America. Knowing as we do that earning success is the key to happiness, rather than simply getting more money, the goal of our political system should be this: to give all Americans the greatest opportunities possible to succeed based on their hard work and merit.
This is the liberty our founders wrote about, the liberty that enables the true pursuit of happiness.
Earned success gives people a sense of meaning about their lives. And meaning also is a key to human flourishing."