Thursday, November 21

Venezuela reminds me of someplace farther north...

Venezuela’s legislature voted to hand its socialist president sweeping decree powers Tuesday.  [By contrast, here in the U.S. the president already changes or violates laws by decree, without consulting congress, and congress simply smiles.]

President Nicolás Maduro supposedly wanted more powers in order to take stronger action to "solve" widespread food shortages and shockingly high inflation.

Maduro blames the country’s economic woes on private businessmen conspiring with agents of the U.S. government.  [In the U.S. the president blames Republicans by calling them racists and economic terrorists.]

Maduro is expected to continue a crackdown on private businesses in the country that began earlier this month. Calling businessman “barbaric” and “capitalist parasites,” he ordered the arrests of dozens of them and forced others to slash prices on plasma TVs and other household appliances.  Not surprisingly the order was wildly popular, with people swarming the stores.

[Here it's Obamaphones, and letting people use their EBT card to pay for tattoos, hair styling and liquor.  And problems are the fault of the "evil one-percenters."]

Chavez used a similar tactic to win reelection last year, giving away Chinese appliances such as refrigerators to buy votes.  Maduro found a cheaper way, simply ordering businesses to sell their goods for less.  [Here in the U.S. the president simply orders taxpayers to pay double for new health insurance, and uses the extorted funds to give health insurance to the poor.  Very Venezuelan.]

Last month Venezuela’s inflation rate was 54.3 percent, as the country experienced its worst shortages of toilet paper, cooking oil, and other basic goods in years. Economists say government actions like the recent appliance order and currency controls have drastically reduced private investment.

[What?  Government actions can reduce private investment?  Would cutting private investment, like, maybe cut the number of new, non-government jobs created by businesses?  Unbelievable!]

"These policies will likely have dire implications for Venezuela’s future.  A majority of the people.will  expect the state will provide for them,” said an analyst.

[Here in the U.S. roughly 40% of the citizens pay no income tax and depend on government handouts to live.  But hey, no problem.  Cuz they vote Democrat.  Woohoo!  Keep them policies comin'!]

Update, from the WSJ:
Critics also note Venezuela has for years refused to publish details of how it spends money held in state-run funds created during the Chavez era, even though required to by the country's main anti-corruption law, calling into question why he would need special anti-graft powers.

Expenditures that do not require legislators' approval have grown so large that investors, such as those who hold Venezuelan bonds, struggle to quantify state spending and have to make their own calculations of the budget deficit.

Government ministries have not responded to repeated requests over the last year seeking details of spending via off-budget mechanisms that include a fund called Fonden, which has received more than $100 billion.
 Wonder what we'd find if "Organizing for America" was audited?

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