Social Security Reform: Only if it is to widen social justice.

“Happy are those who consider the poor!” (Ps 41:1a)

The Brazilian Christian Churches National Council (CONIC) and the Ecumenical Coordination of Service (CESE) manifest their concern about the Social Security Reform proposal delivered by Federal Government to National Congress. Being Cristian faith based, CONIC and CESE believe that a welfare system reform can only occur if it is to widen social justice for all. To exclude, never! Social Security reform cannot attend the interests of corporations, bankers and insurance companies.

A project which mistreat the worker and, on the other hand, let the wealthier classes untouched – like high rank public employees and military officers – is not compatible with Jesus Christ Gospel. We need to stay aware in order to avoid to “pervert the justice due to your poor” (Ex 23:6). They can’t be more penalized than they already are. To difficult the access to Continued Provision Benefit (BPC) or to raise the contribution time for rural worker, for example, is deeply unfair, since it punishes exactly who is more in need (Pv 14:31).

The Brazilian public welfare system is among one of the major social security system in the world and it is of so much importance when it refers to income guarantee for most needy populations. This reform will impact negatively in small size municipalities in which the economy functions based on rural retirements.

The Parliamentary Inquiry Commission (CPI) on Social Security showed that Social Security System is not in deficit. Therefore, before the proposal of a Social Security reform, it is urgent to realize the Public Debt Audit. It is the role of the State to answer to the Brazilians why around 40% of the federal budget is used to pay the financial costs of a debt which was never audited – according to what says the Federal Constitution. Informations from Citizen Audit site show that “in the last 10 years, Central Bank spent 938 Billions of Reals to pay banks cash waste, provoking, at the same time, an unbearable expense, a rise of the public debt stock, money shortage in economy and increase of the market interest rates, with huge prejudice to economy.”

People are tired to see tendency news about this theme, a lot of them defending the financial market point of view. It is no coincidence if the actual Reform proposal is previewing that our Social Security system pass through a capitalization process, as it occurred in Chile. What nobody says, is that today, Chile has 80% of it retirements payments beneath the minimum level. It is no coincidence neither if the country leads with creepy high numbers of elderly people suicides. Is it this that we want to replicate in our country? Will we abandon the elderly people in their difficulties? (Tg 1:27).

Society must discuss the theme, give its opinions about which changes are needed, in a way that is just and based on equity, in which rich people pay more and poor people pay less, in a social solidarity logical. The Social Security System belongs to Brazilian population. It is not the task of economic groups to define the future of a fundamental right.

We beg the representatives elected by popular vote, not to cede to lobby and pressures from big economic groups, but instead for them to honor their mandates thinking in the Brazilian population wellness, of who’s existence is each day more oriented to struggle for survive in a violent country which is hostile to the wellbeing of its own people.

To the traditions of faith, to the people of goodwill, social movements, unions, we urge to organize ecumenical and inter-religions vigils, chat-circles about the Social Security Reform proposal, and that they keep asking their position to the parliament representatives who were elected by their vote.

It is with our mobilization that we will be able to guarantee that the Social Security system continues as a public policy able to guarantee a safe existence in oldness for all workers.

May the God of Justice and courage be giving us uplift and strength.

Brazilian Christian Churches National Council (CONIC: Conselho Nacional de Igrejas Cristãs do Brasil)

Service Ecumenical Coordination (CESE: Coordenadoria Ecumênica de Serviço)