Social justice and budget organization


Author: João Sicsú *

Source: Valor Econômico, 29/08/2007

Valor EconômicoIn modern times, where capitalism and
democracy, the State is a service provider to the society that constituted it.
So you need resources. Some services are needed to organize
society in a civilized way; other services are needed because they promote
social justice. Among the first, the provision of
public security carried out through the police apparatus. On the other hand,
Social justice must be achieved, for example, through broad and
unrestricted access to high quality health and education systems.
Taxes, fees and contributions are therefore a necessity of life

There are differences, sometimes substantial, in earnings that make up the incomes of
individuals living in society. The starting point for the promotion of justice
social tax is the contributory rate charged to each individual. It is enshrined that
those who earn more must pay higher rates than those who earn
any less. Thus, it is through differentiated rates that sacrifices for the
tax payments can be equalized. Therefore, a single rate tax
it is not socially fair because it establishes a lesser sacrifice for those who earn
more. It is also recognized that the best way to differentiate rates is through
direct income and equity tax. Indirect taxes
on commodities of general use such as milk, for example, which have the
same rate for each and every consumer, are unfair because they sacrifice
the less affluent than the wealthier.

 The other channel for promoting social justice is in the form of
expenditure of the collection made. However, social justice must be understood
through a broad concept. It's much more than Robin Wood's motto: take
from the rich to give to the poor. Social justice is more than a set of
income transfer mechanisms. In a democratic society and with a
market economy, the desired social justice is the public institution that
offering quality life security for all, without any distinction of
age, condition (formal or informal) in the labor market, condition
physical, racial, social or religious.
 Public spending should
be done in order to meet all the needs of an individual life and
high quality social media. Must be done to create jobs for all
those who wish to work, but must also be done in the form of programs
monetary payments to those who are discouraged forever, that is,
that have been permanently sidelined from the labor market. More than
that: they must provide everyone with the basics for survival in a
civilized society - such as access to sophisticated health and education systems
- even spending on food for the “soul” of individuals, such as programs
cultural. Public spending should, in short, be aimed at ensuring quality
of life for all: everyone should have the right to access
 Public expenditures should be made in order to meet
all the needs of an individual and social life with high quality

 Social justice is also done by preventing the constitution of
mechanisms that generate differentiated opportunities. Income differences should be
accepted to some degree, differences in wealth and heritage as well. But hits and
Differentiated opportunities cannot be accepted. The institution of justice
should prevent the emergence of mechanisms that generate privileges, such as
example, the transfer of inheritances in magnitude capable of making an individual become
differentiate from the others not because of their capacity, but because of the capacity of their
 The promotion of social justice is an act of
permanent investment of the State in its society, therefore it is an act of
society's investment in itself. This implies that the public budget does not
can be divided, in a short-sighted way, into current and
investment. Investment expenditures would be only expenditures on assets that
constitute a country's infrastructure, such as roads and railways. AND
current expenditures are all expenditures to operate the public “machine”,
such as paying salaries to civil servants, spending on school supplies
 This division is absolutely incorrect because the
State invests in infrastructure (roads, railways), but invests
fundamentally in individuals, invests in quality of life. Therefore, the
division must be another. All expenditure on final activities must be considered
investment. And all the expenses that support the core activities must be
considered current expenditure. For example, a doctor's salary cannot be
initialed as current expenditure. Current expenditure would be spending on salaries of
administrative employees of the Ministry of Health. The expense of carrying out
a great public concert of classical music cannot be considered spent
current, that is, investment in thousands of
 This budgetary reorganization would have
implications. Governments that adopt this budgetary methodology should
seek to reduce current expenditures in relation to investment expenditures, without
prejudice to them, as this would represent an increase in the productivity of the machine
which is fully desirable. Cut current expenditures, as
conservative, without changing the budget methodology, means withdrawing from the State
its original paper. After all, the State is a creation of society for
benefit it, to keep it organized, to bring social security to its
families, to ensure social security for the community. That's what
individuals collect taxes, contributions and fees. Cut current expenses without
changing the budget organization, as conservatives want, can even
help to make the budget balanced, but society will be permanently
state of imbalance because there will be no quality of life. 

* João Sicsú is a professor at the UFRJ Institute of Economics and author of the
book "Employment, Interest and Exchange" (Campus-Elsevier, 2007). He is also a co-author and
organizer of the book “Collection (where does it come from?) and Public Spending (where
vain?) ”, Boitempo Editorial, 2007. Website: