Friday, April 15, 2016

Power Corrupts, Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely, Version Infinity

A populist government not limited significantly in power is going bad ... who could have seen that coming ...

The riches flowing from Brazil’s mines, oil fields and farms fueled a consumer spending binge, but they patched over the structural problems that made Brazil a creaky, onerous place to do business.
A privatization plan to build much-needed roads and railways faltered. Productivity remained low because the workforce was badly trained and poorly educated. Companies wasted thousands of hours deciphering a greedy tax system. And all the while, the old way of making deals — lubricating them with graft — went unchanged.
Big construction and energy companies grew fat on state contracts and government loans under Lula and Rousseff, and the opportunities for illegal enrichment were infinite. Slush money poured into political campaigns.
The dirt from those years is now being unearthed by a hard-charging team of prosecutors and a tough lower-court federal judge, Sérgio Moro, who is overseeing the investigation of a bribery scheme at national oil company Petrobras. Through wiretaps, raids, arrests and plea deals, the probe has exposed spider webs of corruption throughout Brazil’s elite.

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