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Lula and Bolsonaro Battle to Be Biggest Spender on Social Aid

  • Cash handouts become key campaign pledge ahead of Oct. 2 vote
  • None of them say how to finance more generous program
Jair Bolsonaro, left, and Luiz Incio Lula da Silva

Jair Bolsonaro, left, and Luiz Incio Lula da Silva

Photographer: Jonne Roriz/Bloomberg

Brazil’s presidential front-runners are competing to see who will hand out more generous social benefits if elected next month, but none of them are saying where the money will come from.

President Jair Bolsonaro promised on Wednesday to increase outlays made through his flagship Auxilio Brasil program by 200 reais to 800 reais a month to those who get a job while receiving the handouts. He had already pledged to keep monthly payments of 600 reais into 2023, even though he didn’t set aside funds to finance that expense in a recent budget proposal sent to congress.