Now replying your specific question: "The current government is just so bad?"
Many of our numbers are the worst in 20+ years, without a solid external economy justification, our troubles are not because lack of exports or other serious effects caused by other countries that were unavoidable, but purely incompetence (or malice...)
Brazil consumers have the lowest confidence in 22 years, our GDP will have the biggest decrease in 24 years, inflation is the highest since FHC fixed it 20 years ago, the income of people, even if you ignore the exchange rate and count only in absolute BRL numbers, is decreasing, and although unemployment is "low" according to the government, the actual number of employed people is low too*
Also the president batantly lied at her campaign (she said she would not do lots of things she immediately did as soon she was re-"elected"), and lied about the energy situation.
The energy situation lie: Because the lack of rains in Brazil (that seemly is linked to the lack of rains in California), we can't rely on Hidroelectric powerplants, but the distribution lines are not all done, meaning that brownouts in some areas are likely (and we even had a country-wide blackout this year, when in the hottest day for some time, the extra power draw from air conditioners made the power lines overload), the president made several discourses with lies about this, trying to hide the situation for her upcoming campaign, she ended forcing the government as whole to give lots of conflicting information about the power situation, as result lots of important business that rely on great amounts of electricity (for example several types of metallurgy, manufacturing, cement industry) to stop investments, this started to cause unemployment and other issues long before Petrobras problems came to light.
Who in their right mind would invest in a country where you can't find reliable information about the infrastructure situation?
And of course, we have Petrobras issues by itself (for example for some problems caused while the president was working for Petrobras and even signed documents that caused the issues, she just stated she didn't read the documents... so she is grossly incoptent, or a malicious liar)
Of course, I might be biased, since my family has a personal bone to pick with the president (the president approved some stunts in 2013 and 2014 that led to several companies that work for the government get defaulted, my family in turn sold stuff for those companies, that defaulted us, saying they would pay us when the government paid them...)
* Brazil copied US bullshit unemployment number: you are only "unemployed" if you have zero income, government handouts included, and is looking for work, if you gave up, or get money from the government, or has income, even if it is tiny and from an illegal source, you are not unemployed
I hope that someday people will judge their representatives not based on their sympathy for a given party, but on actual meritocracy.
I don't think the actual government is the best, I just think it is the least worst we could get at the present time.
- creating thousands of politically-appointed public servant jobs and other money-sinks.
- corroding the power of one of the best legacies from the former Cardozo president: Lei de Responsabilidade Fiscal (fical responsability act), that was meant to prevent the executive from overspending.
Their ideas are close to the "Chavismo" that destroyed Venezuela, and they are doing a pretty good job trashing Brazil.
Edit: which for sao paulo, where i guess you are from, it all started with PSDB, same party as FHC. Also same governor that started to use military police on pacific protests.
Energy: it was the Federal policy of subsidizing energy and the price caps that led to the energy crisis. The (few) private companies had little incentive to invest in improving capacity of the grid, the state-owned ones were a mere instrument to keep the cronyism going. The government has been chanting about Petrobras and pré-sal for at least 10 years now, even though they know that it is yet to be determined if it will be net-positive in terms of revenue. If at least it was a calculated risk but Petrobras was well-managed, then so be it. But it isn't, and Petrobras corruption scandal is directly linked to Dilma.
Had the Federal government a sound plan for reducing the dependency on hydro-electric power, or at least allowing the construction of new plants, the brownouts wouldn't have happened, even if the "drought" was real. Hadn't the Federal Government managed to completely dilapidate Petrobras for pure political benefit, it could've been given the benefit of the doubt. But it didn't, and it should be pointed as responsible for the current crisis.
Regarding water: I'd buy the argument that it was a state-level issue if it was only seen in one or two states, but it is ongoing in the whole Southeast and Midwest of the country. And while levels of waste in Brazil are bad, the cheap cost of water to farming and deforestation are much worse.
This "is a state-level problem" is just an excuse from PT to take a jab at São Paulo's governor. They never point out the problems existing in PT-governed states. Another thing is that those pro-PT argue that the problem in São Paulo is due to Sabesp being a private company. This is just a lame excuse to support the notion that it should be state owned. The problem is not being private or public, the problem is that it is a monopoly.
If ANA (a federal agency, by the way) was serious about solving the issue, they could enact a bunch of norms to force better control of the resources and break all monopolistic companies into smaller ones and force competition. But because "privatization" and "free market" are verboten words in this government narrative, it will never happen.
Just an aside: this whole thread has already derailed completely from the original link and it has become a point for the Brazilians to discuss politics and each to show their allegiances. I'm all for a good, rational discussion, but I'm yet to see this irt politics, especially in Brazil. Instead of arguing on the ideas, people make "their" political party as part of their identity and simply refuse to have constructive dialogue. It is worse than football. How about we keep this off Hacker News?
This is what I meant when I said that I wish for the day when people will not make judgements based solely on their political affinity.
Sadly, it is almost impossible to talk about politics when people start to see you as an enemy just because you disagree with them. It is even worse when you see, as it happened in Brazil, people with good education going to the streets asking for a military coup... that is crazy. A democracy is better than a dictatorship, even a corrupt democracy, at least you can change the president after a couple of years.
This "people with good education asking for a military coup" is blown out of proportion by supporters of PT. Perhaps a few crazies do indeed think that, but most of the ones during the protests were talking about "intervention", due to considered abuse of the institutions by this corrupt government. And even that can be done in a totally legal and according to a due democratic process.
However, what the supporters of PT keep repeating is that "the opposition wants a coup", you included. So you are doing no better than "the other side of the trenches". If you really want to engage in the discussion, you should be prepared to argue with the "best" part of the opposition, instead of just trying to invalidate the whole other side based on a few exceptions.
That's such a silly thing to point out. In every single anti-government protest that happened so far, pro-military groups were the tiniest minority. Look up Datafolha's research about the Paulista protests - even though that research has several problems, it makes it pretty clear that almost everybody there opposed a coup (or "intervention").
and you are completely paradoxal... try to read your comments before posting :) should the water company be state owned or private? you keep changing your mind every paragraph
1) That hardly counts as "several".
2) It is not ready yet. The current project is being discussed since 2002. Estimated date to open is ~2019. Which is yet-another sign that they are simply ineffective, incompetent, or both. Even if they are aware that a plant will take 15+ years to be built, they'd have to come up with a plan to support the grid in the mean time.
3) So you want to play armchair energy expert: without building something like Belo Monte, how would you secure Brazil's energy needs? What do you think is a viable plan that allows the production capacity to increase, keep costs low and fair?  Please don't say "Solar" or "Wind" if you don't have any actual cost analysis and a feasible strategy.
Regarding public vs private: I really should recommend you reading again, and showing me any passage where I defend one or the other. In what I wrote previously, I haven't said anything of some sort, rather I just pointed out the flaws in the argument used by the "SABESP-is-bad-because-it-is-private" and the "none-of-this-would-happen-if-it-was-a-public-company" crowds. What I said is the situation of monopoly is bad. Which part you don't understand?
Also, do you see how this conversation is already completely off-topic? Now you want to include "police violence against peaceful protests" in your laundry list of talking points. I really don't want to go down this hole, when you can't even realize that the "water crisis" is not restricted to São Paulo, and that the Federal Government is also responsible. If you really want to discuss the topic at hand, fine. If you just want to shout against your political opponents, count me out.
: One of the most valid criticisms against São Paulo government is in how slow they are to extend public transportation. What happens is that a metrô station is planned for one demographic and by the time it is opened, it is already under-dimensioned. But at least they try to establish plans for the time of construction. The Federal government not even gets to do that.
: The current mechanisms give the illusion of low prices when they get their bill, but the true costs are hidden because the subsidies are only possible through taxation. So people pay low bills, but a lot in taxes. It is perverse.
First elections in Brazil are mandatory, people tend to vote on the "least worst" candidate, or in the one they remember more from ads.
Second, elections in Brazil don't have vote re-counts, when you input a candidate in the electronic pooling stations, they just add a "+1" to some variable, or at least this is what they should do, the government don't allow third parties to examine the stations, so there is no way to know what they are really counting.
Finally, in lots of nearby countries there has been elections with similar results (members of Forum de São Paulo winning with around 51 or 52% of the votes) and the same company took care of the elections in all those countries.
On the other side, this same electronic devices are in use since 1996, thus all elections ever since fall under the same suspicion (even the one won by FHC).
The problem is that political parties only act when they are loosing. Now, the losers claim the devices can be tampered with... of course they can. But why didn't they make these devices right when they were in power?
that is not my point, and I has always been against the electronic ballots, I don't trust election results of any election since the electronic pooling stations, I am only more distrustful at these elections, because of the other things I mentioned (several friends of PT winning with 51%, the same company working on all those elections, some cities where people proved there was outright fraud, for example in one city people found memory cards and voter lists in the trash) and because of the popularity pools (before, and after the elections Dilma was unpopular, only DURING the elections her popularity suddenly rose... I don't believe people are THAT stupid)
Edit: it's actually pretty neat BTW. My state offers and online system and I can get done with the justification in less than 5 minutes.
Yes, GDP is bad now, but employment is at an all time high. while it was at an all time low during FHC.
employment rates is something odd. while GDP everyone fells somewhat equally, employment is only felt by that group of people. So you have to try hard to not alienate yourself on those matters.
...as you all can see proof by this comment being downvoted without any comment against :)