Brazil’s six richest men have as much wealth as the poorest 50% of the population, according to an inaugural Oxfam Brazil report that highlights the country’s extreme inequality. Among other startling figures, the report found that at the current pace of progress, Brazilian women won’t close the wage gap until 2047, and Afro-Brazilians won’t earn the same as whites until 2089.
Katia Maia, Oxfam Brazil’s executive director, said the organization plans to issue reports on the country’s inequality on an annual basis. The country’s tax code is a source of unfairness, added Maia, noting that while Brazil’s tax load is below the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development member countries average, “it’s a burden to be borne chiefly by the middle class and the poorer sections of the population.”
Axing corporate tax breaks, raising the estate tax and lowering taxes on goods and services would go a long way toward making Brazil’s tributary system more egalitarian, according to the report. None of these steps are included in President Michel Temer’s recent proposal to tweak Brazil’s tax code, but Maia said a problem that can be tackled even without an overhaul is tax evasion, which soared over $85 billion in 2016 alone.
On a brighter note, the report found the stabilization of Brazil’s economy and inflation over the last 20 years enabled the country to invest in employment generation, increase the minimum wage and boost the growth in formal jobs.
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