What the Tupi Hank Paulson Said In Saying He Did Not Say What the Estadão Said He Said

https://i2.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/ad/Guido_mantega.jpg/404px-Guido_mantega.jpg
Mantega: Italo-Tupi Hank Paulson

“At no time during the interview, which was recorded, even when asked explicitly about it, did the government say the government would create the tax through a provisional measure [MP], much less that it would do so this year.”

O DIA (Rio) carries the entirety of the press release from the Minister of the Treasury, and headlines it

“Mantega says he was misinterpreted.”

Mantega says more than that: He says the newspaper attributed statements to him that he never made.

“Ronald Reagan says he is prepared to blow up Russia.”

Actually, Reagan did say that. But he was joking.

See

“A manchete do jornal O Estado de S. Paulo do dia 15 de dezembro de 2007 errou ao afirmar que “Mantega quer uma nova CPMF” e que “defende a criação, por meio de medida provisória, de uma nova contribuição para financiar a área de saúde”. Na entrevista aos jornalistas Sonia Racy e Gabriel Manzano Filho e reproduzida na página A4, naquele mesmo dia, o ministro da Fazenda, Guido Mantega, afirma explicitamente:

“The headline in O Estado de S. Paulo on December 15, 2007, erred in stating that “Mantega wants to a new CPMF,” and that “he defends the creation, through an executive “provisional measure,” of a new tax to finance healthcare.” In the interview with journalists Sonia Racy and Gabriel Manzano Filho, printed on p. A4, on that same day, he says explicitly:

“A saúde não sobrevive sem recursos adicionais. É preciso pensar em outra medida no ano que vem, para suprir o que faltou. Mas agora não será tributo provisório. Não queremos saber mais de CPMF. Terá que ser um tributo permanente, todo voltado para a saúde, e que não tenha que ser rediscutido. E tem de ser sobre movimentação financeira. Porque, senão, não teremos como controlar a sonegação”.

This paragraph was quoted by the original Agência Brasil wire-service story.

“Health care cannot survive without additional funds. We need to think of another measure next year to make up for the shortfall. But it cannot be a provisional tax. We do not want to hear another word about the CPMF. It will have to be a permanent tax, dedicated to health care, one that will not have to be redebated. And it will have to be a tax on financial transactions. If not, we will have no way of controlling tax evasion,” the statement said.

“Em momento algum, na entrevista que foi gravada, mesmo ao ser perguntado de forma explícita, o ministro diz que o governo criará o tributo por medida provisória e, muito menos, que o fará ainda este ano.

“At no time during the interview, which was recorded, even when asked explicitly about it, did the government say the government would create the tax through a provisional measure [MP], much less that it would do so this year.”

The MP is a hangover of strong presidentialism which gives the executive the ability to draft legislation and send it down to Congress for an up or down vote, without, I think, the ability to offer amendments.

Brazil’s Congress tends to get a bad rap as a lawmaking factory that gets very few laws made, I think you could fairly say. It spends all its time investigating phantom menaces and shrieking hysterically. Sort of like the McCarthy era.

“O erro do jornal, atribuindo ao ministro declarações que não fez, provocou diversas reações contrárias, num momento sensível de negociações. No próprio sábado, dia 15 de dezembro, o ministro esclareceu o equívoco aos veículos de comunicação que o procuraram. Falou ao próprio jornal O Estado de S. Paulo através da jornalista Sonia Racy.

“The newspaper’s error, attributing to the minister statements that he did not make, provoked a number of negative reactions at a sensitive moment in negotiations. On that same day, December 15, the minister explained the error to news organizations that sought him out for comment. He talked to the Estado as well, through reporter Sonia Racy.

And what did Sonia say? Her bio from Radio Eldorado:

Formada em Administração de Empresas, pelo Mackenzie. Iniciou a carreira no Jornal do Brasil. Trabalhou também na Gazeta Mercantil e na Folha de S. Paulo. Atualmente é colunista do jornal O Estado de S. Paulo. Leia também a coluna “Direto da Fonte” diariamente no Estadão.

On the quality of journalism practiced at the Jornal do Brasil, Ms. Racy’s professional alma mater, see:

Whenever I think of Mackenzie, I always think of this astonishing pronouncement by its rector, Augustus Nicodemus:

“Apesar dos esclarecimentos, o jornal O Estado de S.Paulo “repercute”, assim como outros veículos de comunicação, a informação errada que deu, em texto na primeira página e na página A4 deste domingo com o título: “Oposição reage a recriação da CPMF proposta por Mantega” e sub-título “Parlamentares do DEM e do PSDB criticam a idéia de uso de medida provisória para ressuscitar tributo”.

Despite those clarifications, the Estadão, along with other news outlets, is covering the “repercussions” of the erroneous information, in a front page article and an article on page A4 with the headline: “Opposition reacts to the recreation of the CPMF proposed by Mantega,” with the subhed “DEM and PSDB lawmakers criticize the idea of using an MP to revive the tax.”

“O ministro Guido Mantega lamenta o uso equivocado de sua entrevista e reafirma que a discussão sobre um novo tributo permanente voltado exclusivamente para a saúde terá que passar por uma ampla discussão dentro do governo e com o Congresso Nacional.”

This paragraph was quoted in the Agência Brasil wire service story on the issue.

So what did the Estadão say Mantega said in the interview that Mantega says he did not say?

And what did Mantega say in the interview?

Stay tuned.

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