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If it is true that all segments of society had earned income in recent years, for the first time in decades the poorest wound up winning in comparison: between 2003 and 2012, the poorest 10% had cumulative growth of real per capita income of 107%, while the richest saw a 37% increase in accumulated income, according to a study from the Institute of Applied Economic Research (IPEA). The real gains were almost three times higher for Brazilians who were more socially vulnerable. The wall of inequality, which seemed insurmountable, began to be overcome.
In the beginning, they said Bolsa Família would encourage indolence and idleness. They were wrong: the program fueled the market, and today 75% of the beneficiaries are working adults in the labor market and 1.3 million are getting training through Pronatec (the National Program for Access to Technical Education and Employment), to have a better chance to participate in the working world. Then, opponents began to repeat that easy access to credit would lead the population into debt, as if the people did not know what to do with their money. They got it completely wrong: surveys repeatedly show that the low-income population is increasingly knowledgeable about how to control their spending habits.
Then, they said the guarantee of new labor rights would cause mass unemployment anong domestic servants. Nothing like that happened. It was just blackmail by those who perceived poor women as cheap and easy sources of labor. To put into practice their social inclusion policies, Lula and Dilma had to face prejudice and resistance on the part of society that always had access to all goods and services in Brazil and tried to maintain the huge gap that has always existed between rich and poor. The difference is the vast majority of Brazilians will no longer agree to backslide on this issue. Today, they know that growth can indeed proceed in step with social rights and opportunities for all.