Down to Braz Tacks

  • Share
  • Read Later
BRASILIA, Brazil: President Fernando Henrique Cardoso has finally rolled out the gritty details of his long-awaited austerity plan: tax hikes and spending cuts on nearly everything he's constitutionally allowed to touch. "It's a bold plan," says TIME senior economics reporter Bernard Baumohl. "It's what he promised both the IMF and the Brazilian people." Now for the hard part: getting it past Congress.

The proposed budget savings, which add up to $24 billion, target a lot of sacred cows -- especially the social security benefits of civil servants -- and despite Cardoso's popular mandate for the plan, Congress is expected to kick up a considerable fuss. But Baumohl thinks that the international response will prove convincing. "We should start to see foreign investment returning to Brazil, and the IMF now has an obligation to put together the planned $30 billion bailout." Cardoso has written the recipe for Brazil's recovery. All he's got to do now is make sure the meal gets cooked.