Despite bullish talk of reaping a fortune from selling off government assets, none of the 46 government-owned companies earmarked for auction has been privatized, although Bolsonaro’s administration created a new one last year and is weighing another. An overhaul of the federal bureaucracy could bring crucial savings, and yet the government took until September to send its modest bill for administrative reform (which covers only new hires) to congress, where it languishes. A more robust tax reform, which could simplify Brazil’s jungle of levies, has fared no better, perhaps because it was conceived outside the presidential palace.

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