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...There is a strong argument that Brazil’s overstretched government finances have long held back the economy. At 36%, the ratio of government spending to gross domestic product (GDP) is one of the highest among countries at a similar income level. Years of fiscal laxity, mounting social security obligations and low commodity prices have magnified concerns—compounded by the political crisis—about the government’s debt burden, which stands at about 70% of the GDP. The high interest rates required to finance the perilous fiscal position aggravates it further: higher interest payments account for much of the difference in spending between Brazil and peer countries. ...Live Mint on June 12, 2017, 11:57 p.m.