SALT LAKE CITY — Back in Utah after a trade mission to Brazil last week, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert chided the world’s fifth-largest nation for not having a more Utah-modeled economic system.
Speaking to members of Utah’s media, Herbert said Brazilians are frustrated that their government has been so cluelessly ignoring his small, rural, federally-dependent state’s much-heralded economic success.
“What we learned in Brazil, particularly from the business community, was the impact the government is having on their economic development. They would say to us today that the taxes are too high, and the regulations too many and nonsensical,” Herbert said.
“And that reflects upon what we’re doing here in Utah, because we’re just the reverse of that,” he continued. “We have competitive and lower taxes and regulation reform to empower the private sector to create economic expansion.”
Herbert went on to point out that Utah was selected by Forbes Magazine as the best U.S. state for business. Conversely, Brazil failed to make the list again this year.
Upon hearing of Herbert’s critique, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff vehemently concurred.
“We have the seventh-largest economy in the world. Our GDP was estimated to be over $2.3 trillion last year, which is a 417 percent increase from 1980. We’ve been the world’s largest coffee producer for about 150 years. We have a diverse economy flush with natural resources, but I think it’s fair to say we’ve easily been outplayed by this completely analogous success story,” she said.
When asked about Brazil’s strict economic regulations, Rousseff didn’t hold back.
“We’ve recently dealt with unprecedented bureaucratic corruption, so yeah, having fewer rules probably makes a ton of sense,” she said.
Rousseff then added, “How does Utah handle deforestation concerns with its rainforest? I should probably call up Gov. Herbert and ask him how he manages to protect a delicate ecosystem while continuing to allow a powerhouse world economy to thrive and grow. I bet he’s figured it out.”
Indeed, Herbert admitted that he has made Utah’s economy a top priority.
“By golly, I’ve been focused laser-like on the fact that it is really about the economy. I took a page out of Bill Clinton’s book and where he said, ‘It’s the economy, stupid,’ I’ve changed it, said, ‘It is the economy, and we’re not stupid,'” is an actual thing he actually said.
Herbert also noted that more than 12,000 Brazilian nationals live in Utah. It’s an impressive figure considering Brazil has roughly 200 million Brazilian nationals and still struggles to turn out Utah-esque economic results.
Brazil has also failed to host a Winter Olympics.