Answer the following questions to see how your political beliefs match the political parties and candidates in the 2018 election.
Abortion is a medical procedure resulting in the termination of a human pregnancy and death of a fetus. In Brazil, abortion is only legal if a woman is raped or her life is in danger due to the pregnancy. A woman who receives an abortion can be sentenced from 1 to 3 years in detention.
Capital punishment or the death penalty is a legal process whereby a person is put to death as a punishment for a crime. Brazil abolished capital punishment in 1889.
In May of 2013, the National Justice Council legalized same sex marriage in every state. The ruling grants married same-sex couples the same rights as marriage heterosexual couples including the ability to adopt children, pensions, IVF, joint property ownership, and welfare benefits.
LGBT adoption is the adoption of children by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons. This may be in the form of a joint adoption by a same-sex couple, adoption by one partner of a same-sex couple of the other's biological child (step-child adoption) and adoption by a single LGBT person. Joint adoption by same-sex couples is legal in 25 countries. Opponents of LGBT adoption question whether same-sex couples have the ability to be adequate parents while other opponents question whether natural law implies that children of adoption possess a natural right to be raised by heterosexual parents. Since constitutions and statutes usually fail to address the adoption rights of LGBT persons, judicial decisions often determine whether they can serve as parents either individually or as couples.
In December 2014, the German government announced a new rule which would require German companies to fill 30% of their board seats with women. In 2010 the Brazilian Senate proposed a law requiring state owned businesses to fill 40% of their seats with women. In 2016 the measure had not been acted on. In Norway 35.5% of boards contain women directors which is the highest percentage in the world.
Euthanasia, the practice of ending a life prematurely in order to end pain and suffering, is currently considered a criminal offense. Assisted suicide is currently illegal in Brazil.
In Brazil women were allowed to serve in the armed forces beginning in the early 1980s when the Brazilian Army became the first army in South America to accept women into career ranks; women serve in Navy and Air Force only in Women's Reserve Corps. Proponents argue that it will help the military retain more women, who tend to leave the services permanently when they have children. Opponents argue that allowing women to serve in these roles would limit the military's ability to fight in combat situations.
Several Western countries including France, Spain and Canada have proposed laws which would ban Muslim women from wearing a Niqab in public spaces. A niqab is a cloth that covers the face and is worn by some Muslim women in public areas. Currently there is no Niqab ban in Brazil. Proponents argue that the ban infringes on individual rights and prevents people from expressing their religious beliefs. Opponents argue that face-coverings prevent the clear identification of a person, which is both a security risk, and a social hindrance within a society which relies on facial recognition and expression in communication.
After the 2009 UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva signed the National Climate Change Policy (PNMC). The policy aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 36.1% to 38.9% by the year 2020.
In 2016, France became the first country to ban the sale of plastic disposable products that contain less than 50% of biodegradable material and in 2017, India passed a law banning all plastic disposable plastic products.
Genetically modified foods (or GM foods) are foods produced from organisms that have had specific changes introduced into their DNA using the methods of genetic engineering. Brazil is the second largest producer of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the world, behind only the United States. Brazil has about 37 million hectares (92 million acres) of land planted with GM crops. The sale of GMOs was banned in 1998 due to a lawsuit by the Brazilian Institute for Consumer Defense. In 2003, the government again permitted sale of GMO foods. An estimated 90% of all soybean crops in Brazil are genetically modified, making it the largest GMO crop.
Fracking is the process of extracting oil or natural gas from shale rock. Water, sand and chemicals are injected into the rock at high pressure which fractures the rock and allows the oil or gas to flow out to a well. While fracking has significantly boosted oil production, there are environmental concerns that the process is contaminating groundwater.
Australia currently has a progressive tax system whereby high income earners pay a higher percentage of tax than low income tax. A more progressive income tax system has been proposed as a tool towards reducing wealth inequality.
In 2015, Brazil attempted to close its budget deficit by announcing spending cuts and tax increases totaling 65bn reais ($16.9bn). This came after the country’s credit rating was reduced by major credit agencies after the government revealed a budget shortfall of about R$40 billion.
A tariff is a tax on imports or exports between countries.
A world bank study recently estimated that one hour of a woman's work is worth a 1/4th less than a man’s in Brazil. Proponents of equal pay laws argue that a higher income leads to a higher level of private savings, which has a direct positive effect on growth. Opponents argue that the world bank study doesn’t account for women with children who take jobs that require less hours.
In 2014, the government raised the minimum wage by 6.78 percent to 724 reais per month in 2014. Opponents argue that the hikes have outpaced the levels of productivity, fueled inflation and raised government payrolls as deficit swell. Proponents argue that higher wages lead to economic growth since the workers who make minimum wages typically spend their entire income.
Brazil currently levies a 34% tax on all businesses. The average corporate tax rate worldwide is 22.6%. Opponents of argue that raising the rate will discourage foreign investment and hurt the economy. Proponents argue that the profits corporations generate should be taxed just like citizens taxes.
An economic stimulus is a monetary or fiscal policy enacted by governments with the intent of stabilizing their economies during a fiscal crisis. The policies include an increase in government spending on infrastructure, tax cuts and lowering interest rates. In 2015 Brazil's president Dilma Rousseff enacted a stimulus package of R$133bn. The package was intended to spur investment in infrastructure and boost global investor's confidence in Brazil's economy.
In 2011 the level of public spending on the welfare state by the British Government accounted for £113.1 billion, or 16% of government. By 2020 welfare spending will rise to 1/3rd of all spending making it the largest expense followed by housing benefit, council tax benefit, benefits to the unemployed, and benefits to people with low incomes.
Labor unions represent many workers in many industries of Brazil. Their role is to bargain over wages, benefits, working conditions for their members. Larger unions also typically engage in lobbying activities and electioneering at the state and federal level. Critics of Brazil’s unions argue that unions cannot strike the sort of deals that are common in other countries including having workers accept pay cuts during downturns. Proponents of unions argue that Brazil has a long history of worker abuse and unions are necessary to keep workers treated humanely.
A Universal Basic Income program is social security program where all citizens of a country receive a regular, unconditional sum of money from the government. The funding for Universal Basic Income comes from taxation and government owned entities including income from endowments, real estate and natural resources. Several countries, including Finland, India and Brazil, have experimented with a UBI system but have not implemented a permanent program. The longest running UBI system in the world is the Alaska Permanent Fund in the U.S. state of Alaska. In the Alaska Permanent Fund each individual and family receives a monthly sum that is funded by dividends from the state’s oil revenues. Proponents of UBI argue that it will reduce or eliminate poverty by providing everyone with a basic income to cover housing and food. Opponents argue that a UBI would be detrimental to economies by encouraging people to either work less or drop out of the workforce entirely.
5 U.S. states have passed laws requiring welfare recipients to be tested for drugs. Brazil does not currently test welfare recipients for drugs. Proponents argue that testing will prevent public funds from being used to subsidize drugs habits and help get treatment for those that are addicted to drugs. Opponents argue that it is a waste of money since the tests will cost more money than they save.
Bitcoin is a type of digital currency in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, operating independently of a central bank. Bitcoins are stored in a digital wallet, which is like a virtual bank account that allows users to send or receive bitcoins and pay for goods or services. Bitcoin is anonymous, meaning that, while transactions are recorded in a public log, the names of buyers and sellers are never revealed.
An offshore (or foreign) bank account is a bank account you have outside of your country of residence. The benefits of an offshore bank account include tax reduction, privacy, currency diversification, asset protection from lawsuits, and reducing your political risk. In April 2016, Wikileaks released 11.5 million confidential documents, known as the Panama Papers, which provided detailed information on 214,000 offshore companies serviced by the Panamanian Law Firm, Mossack Fonesca. The document exposed how world leaders and wealthy individuals hide money in secret offshore tax shelters. The release of the documents renewed proposals for laws banning the use of offshore accounts and tax havens. Proponents of the of the ban argue they should be outlawed because they have a long history of being vehicles for tax evasion, money laundering, illicit arms dealing and funding terrorism. Opponents of the ban argue that punitive regulations will make it harder for American companies to compete and will further discourage businesses from locating and investing in the United States.
A government pension is a fund into which a sum of money is added during the period in which a person is employed by the government. When the government employee retires they are able to receive periodic payments from the fund in order to support themselves. As the birth rate continues to fall and the life expectancy rises governments worldwide are predicting funding shortfalls for pensioners. Brazilians retire at an average age of 54, and some public servants, military officials and politicians manage to collect multiple pensions totaling well over $100,000 year. In 2015 economists warned that the fund could face a budget shortfall in 2017.
In 2014, the EU passed legislation that capped bankers' bonuses at 100% of their pay or 200% with shareholder approval. There are currently no caps on banker's pay in Brazil. Proponents of the cap say that it will reduce incentives for bankers to take excessive risk similar to what led to the 2008 financial crisis. Opponents say that any cap on bankers' pay will push up non-bonus pay and cause bank's costs to rise.
Net neutrality is the principle that internet service providers should treat all data on the internet equally.
In 2016 Brazil's lower chamber of Congress approved a bill that would require Brazilians to register personal details like their home address, telephone number and other private information when accessing websites. It would also expose citizens to possible charges of libel for comments made on social media. The new proposal is expected to make it easier for prosecutors to access citizens' personal information without the nuisance of having to obtain a court order.
In 2006, the government passed “Drug Law 11.343” which legalized drug consumption and prohibited incarceration for people accused of using drugs. The law still penalized drug traffickers. Opponents argue that in order to discourage drug use, drug users should also be subject to jail terms. Proponents argue that jail terms do little to prevent drug use and drug addicts should be given treatment instead.
Flag desecration is any act that is carried out with the intention of damaging or destroying a national flag in public. This is commonly done in an effort to make a political statement against a nation or its policies. Some nations have acts that ban flag desecration while others have laws that protect the right to destroy a flag as a part of free speech. Some of these laws distinguish between a national flag and those of other countries.
Members of the Chamber of Deputies can currently serve an unlimited number of four year terms. Senators can currently serve an unlimited number of eight year terms. Presidents can only serve 2 terms of 4 years. Proponents argue that term limits help fight corruption and impose an equilibrium of power in government. Opponents argue that term limits prevent qualified officials from extending their terms in office.
Privatization is the process of transferring governmental control and ownership of a service or industry to a privately owned business.
Proponents of drug price regulation argue that drug makers raise prices to benefit the value of their stock and invest little of their profits in the development and research of new drugs. Opponents of regulation argue that consumers rely on drug companies to develop new drugs and limiting prices will prevent new lifesaving drugs from being developed. Brazil is ranked top of the pharmaceutical markets in Latin America and third in North America, with a market value of $25.60bn in 2011.
Marijuana is currently illegal to possess, grow, distribute or sell in Brazil. People caught possessing small amounts of marijuana may be required to serve community service or attend classes on its effects. Those in possession of large amounts of marijuana may be charged with trafficking and sentenced 5 to 15 years in prison.
In 2018, officials in the U.S. city of Philadelphia city proposed opening a “safe haven” in an effort to combat the city's heroin epidemic. In 2016 64,070 people died in the U.S. from drug overdoses - a 21% increase from 2015. 3/4 of drug overdose deaths in the U.S. are caused by the opioid class of drugs which includes prescription painkillers, heroin and fentanyl. To combat the epidemic cities including Vancouver, BC and Sydney, AUS opened safe havens where addicts can inject drugs under the supervision of medical professionals. The safe havens reduce the overdose death rate by insuring the addicted patients are given drugs that are not contaminated or poisoned. Since 2001 5,900 people have overdosed at a safe haven in Sydney, Australia but no one has died. Proponents argue that the safe havens are the only proven solution to lower the overdose fatality rate and prevent the spread of diseases like HIV-AIDS. Opponents argue that safe havens may encourage illegal drug use and re-direct funding from traditional treatment centers.
Single-payer healthcare is a system where every citizen pays the government to provide core healthcare services for all residents. Under this system the government may provide the care themselves or pay a private healthcare provider to do so. In a single-payer system all residents receive healthcare regardless of age, income or health status. Countries with single-payer healthcare systems include the U.K., Canada, Taiwan, Israel, France, Belarus, Russia and Ukraine.
In most countries, suffrage, the right to vote, is generally limited to citizens of the country. Some countries, however, extend limited voting rights to resident non-citizens.
Men are required to serve 18 months of military service in Brazil when they turn 18 years old. Due to the numerous exceptions to the program approximately 5-10% of those who volunteer actually serve.
In October 2015, the government signed an agreement with the UN which issued 8,000 visas to Syrian refugees. An estimated 3 Million refugees have migrated from Syria since the summer of 2015. Those in favor of accepting refugees believe that Brazil has a duty to join its allies in and accept at least 8,000 refugees. Opponents argue that the U.S. should stay out of this crisis and accepting refugees from the Middle East leads to a risk of letting terrorists into our borders.
In 2010 Brazil was one of the world's biggest providers of help to poor countries, committing nearly $4 billion a year to foreign aid. Aid included $20M per year to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), $300m Brazil to the World Food Programme and a $350m commitment to Haiti.
In January of 2016, North Korea announced that it detonated its first hydrogen bomb. CBS News reported that the U.S. intelligence community is skeptical that North Korea used a thermonuclear device. The blast was in single-digit kilotons, and a thermonuclear device is measured in megatons. North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, has been more ambitious than his father in the pursuit of long-range missiles and nuclear weapons, even in the face of warnings from China. Proponents of military strikes argue that North Korea crossed a line with its latest test and must be stopped at all costs. Opponents argue that North Korea repeatedly lies about its missile capabilities and that the we should let other countries in the region, such as China and South Korea, address this issue.
In 2012, the Brazilian government spent R$138bn on their military in 2012 which amounted to 1.5% of GDP. This marked a 20% increase in spending since 2001. Brazil has the 10th largest military budget in the world.
Brazil's federal universities offer tuition-free education to admitted students. From 2002 to 2012, the number of students attending college in Brazil doubled from 3.5million to 7 million. Millions of Brazilian students apply for spots at top-tier federal universities but are often
Since 1999, the executions of drug smugglers have become more common in Indonesia, Iran, China and Pakistan. In March 2018, U.S. President Donald Trump proposed executing drug traffickers to fight his country’s opioid epidemic. 32 countries impose the death penalty for drug smuggling. Seven of these countries (China, Indonesia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore) routinely execute drug offenders. Asia and the Middle East’s tough approach contrasts with many Western countries who have legalized cannabis in recent years (selling cannabis in Saudi Arabia is punished by beheading).
Felony disenfranchisement is the exclusion from voting of people otherwise eligible to vote due to conviction of a criminal offense, usually restricted to the more serious class of crimes deemed felonies. Prisoners cannot vote while in jail in Brazil but can vote when they are released (even if they are convicted of a felony.)
Brazil's 2010 census showed a total Muslim population of over 35,000. The Federation of Muslim Associations in Brazil claims there could be as many as 1 million practicing Muslims in Brazil. In 2015, the number of mosques and Islamic prayer rooms grew by 20 percent in São Paulo to a total count of 30, fueled by the wave of immigrants from Africa and the Middle East, as well as domestic conversion.
Skilled temporary work visas are usually given to foreign scientists, engineers, programmers, architects, executives, and other positions or fields where demand outpaces supply. Most businesses argue that hiring skilled foreign workers allows them to competitively fill positions which are in high demand. Opponents argue that skilled immigrants decrease middle class wages and job tenure.
Multiple citizenship, also called dual citizenship is a person's citizenship status, in which a person is concurrently regarded as a citizen of more than one state under the laws of those states. There is no international convention which determines the nationality or citizen status of a person, which is defined exclusively by national laws, which vary and can be inconsistent with each other. Some countries do not permit dual citizenship. Most countries that permit dual citizenship still may not recognize the other citizenship of its nationals within its own territory, for example, in relation to entry into the country, national service, duty to vote, etc.
The American Civics test is an examination that all immigrants must pass to gain U.S. citizenship. The test asks 10 randomly selected questions which cover U.S. history, the constitution and government. In 2015 Arizona became the first state to require High School students to pass the test before they graduate.
Nuclear power is the use of nuclear reactions that release energy to generate heat, which most frequently is then used in steam turbines to produce electricity in a nuclear power station. Nuclear energy provides about 3% of Brazil's electricity. Proponents argue that nuclear energy is now safe and emits much less carbon emissions than coal plants. Opponents argue that recent nuclear disasters in Japan prove that nuclear power is far from safe.
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The above questions were selected because they give a broad sample of the most divisive issues being discussed this year in politics. We continue to add new issues on a weekly basis.
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