Felipe Moura Brasil, a journalist in Brazil, has witnessed what socialism can do to a country first hand. So when American millennials celebrate socialist policies and cheer people who champion them, such as Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I), Brasil can't help but shake his head.
Brasil decided to team up with the conservative educational videomakers at Prager U to tell the story of how his country went from a people on the rise to a country that will be cleaning up a socialism mess for decades.
"I know a lot about socialism. I live in Rio de Janeiro, and I work throughout Brazil as a journalist for a popular magazine," Brasil begins. "In the early 2000s, Brazil’s economy was growing rapidly. The government had enacted economic and monetary reforms and divested holdings in some state-run companies, giving the private sector more room to breathe."
Brasil said inflation dropped and foreign investors began to pour into the country when the government had retreated from the private sector. However, in 2002, it all started going wrong:
In 2002, a socialist politician named Lula da Silva ran for the presidency. He was a socialist but painted himself as a modern, cool kind of socialist. He would be the politician who would heal national divisions and unite everyone. He even had a nickname, “Lulinha paz e amor,” which means "Little Lula peace and love" in Portuguese.
But the old message about the need for income redistribution to decrease inequality was still there. The media, academic elite and celebrities assured Brazilians that by transferring the money from the rich to the poor, the poor could finally be richer.
Silva enacted policies that seemed promising at first but ultimately began destroying Brazil's economy. Government spending increased, creating deficits and debt. Lawmakers increased the minimum wage and entitlements, as well as the benefits and salaries of government employees.
All the while they used flowery terms to make their actions seem good — terms like "stimulus," "investing in the future," and "social justice."
Eventually, Silva's government fell apart, and it took the economy with it.
"From 2008 to 2015, government spending grew nearly four times as fast as tax revenue," Brasil said in the video.
The economy shrank 3.5 percent, the worst contraction in 25 years. The effects were devastating on multiple levels. Brasil adds:
Economically and morally, the almost 15 years of socialist policies have greatly harmed Brazil. We also remain among the world's leaders in murder and robbery, and we rank near the bottom of industrialized nations in terms of education and health care.
Brasil is correct. Currently, Brazil has the most top-ranked dangerous cities in one country by a good margin.
In the end, Silva was charged with several lawsuits of corruption, involvement in a criminal organization, influence peddling, money laundering, and obstruction of justice. His socialist successor, Dilma Rousseff, was impeached for falsifying government financial reports and illegally using money from state-owned banks to run the government.
Brasil says his country is trying to turn things around, but the damage done by the socialists was so extensive that it may take many years to fix all the problems. However, Brasil believes a change is on the horizon.
Americans take it for granted that they can be born into the lower class and reach the middle or even upper class. Many Brazilians take it for granted that they can’t. But finally, some things are starting to change. There may be reason for hope. Today, more and more Brazilians see that capitalism and limited government are the only way forward.