Monday, May 2

Venezuela's socialist government slides ever closer to national collapse

Socialism is a ghastly, awful system.  It rewards laziness and corruption, and takes away most incentives for bright, hard-working, creative, innovative people to create, innovate and build.

With very few exceptions socialist countries suffer from shortages of damn near everything...except corruption, which is the only thing socialist governments do well.

Of course if you're a young person in the U.S., if you've heard anything about socialism at all you probably think it's faaabulous.  Of course you've lived your entire life here so you don't have any direct experience with it.  Instead you think it's faabulous because it's what Hillary and Bernie and the mainstream media and the Democrats have taught you.  You know virtually nothing about what socialism really is or how it really works, simply because our faabulous public school system never taught you what it's really all about.

The brilliant folks who run that cesspool (public schools) probably didn't think it was important enough to bother with--even though both Hillary and Bernie are pushing it, and socialism is overwhelmingly likely to turn your life to utter crap.  But hey, not important.

So let's let that bastion of truth, the WaPost, tell ya about socialism, according to an article published yesterday.

Actually the Post article says very little about socialism per se--cuz if they did it might just possibly wake up a few million voters who are totally thrilled about electing Hillary and getting more socialism here in the U.S.  No, the Post article just tells of the ghastly problems aflicting a once-incredibly-prosperous nation that now just happens to have a socialist government.

But there's really no connection, citizen, between that last fact and the unbelievable shitstorm that nation is now experiencing.

Absolutely none.  Really.  Trust us.

The country is Venezuela.  And among the nearly endless list of things ordinary Venezuelans have a hard time finding now is...electricity.  So the president of Venezuela just ordered rolling blackouts lasting up to 8 hours.  As you might guess, this has pretty much clobbered businesses like restaurants.  Cuz without constant refrigeration, fresh food goes bad pretty quickly.

Non-food businesses are also suffering, because modern economies need electricity to make virtually everything.  So...bad news.

The socialist government says it has invested billions of dollars to shore up the electrical grid by adding a network of smaller turbine generators that can burn Venezuela’s abundant heavy crude. But according to a report in Venezuela’s El Universal newspaper, 60 percent of these powerplants are  broken or operating below capacity because of lack of maintenance. The projects were widely viewed as riddled with government corruption.

But hey, at least under socialism everyone shares the misery equally, right?  Fairness, comrade.

Oh, wait:  Venezuela's president ordered the state power company to not extend the rolling blackouts to the state in which the capital is located.  Just like the feds will ensure that in the event of a shortage, D.C. will always have natural gas and electricity even if the rest of the country has to freeze in the dark.

But hey, socialism is all about fairness, comrade.

With such a staggeringly poor economy, people are paying inflated prices for any goods (like food) they can find.  So inflation is skyrocketing: Last December the experts predicted Venezuela's inflation rate in 2016 would be over 100%.  Meaning if you had a thousand bucks saved, next year it would lose half its value.

But now, just 4 months later, looks like the experts were wrong:

Inflation is now running 520 percent per year.  It takes a gym bag full of bills to buy a modest dinner at a restaurant.  There's no incentive to save money because that level of inflation means $500 in savings only has $100 worth of buying power at the end of a year.

And when no one has an incentive to save, where can banks get money to loan for starting or expanding a business?

People line up for an hour or more to get into a supermarket, where on a typical day the entire supply of "food" consists of canned tomatoes.  To prevent hoarding, shoppers are only permitted to buy one or two of anything.  And the government forces shoppers to show a government ID card and give a fingerprint to buy normal food items.

The interesting thing about the Post article is that it only mentions socialism 3 times:  And one of those is to say "Maduro and his supporters have tried to spin the crisis into a sign of socialist success," so it's not a criticism.  Never does the author mention that all the problems have been the result of stupid, socialist policies.  Instead it's all the result of a plot by the nefarious Americans.

One of the telltale signs of a dictator is that he or she never takes the blame for anything, even when a problem is unquestionably due to crappy decisions by the dictator.  That seems to be hard-wired into those assholes--problems are always due to the weather, or a Yankee plot, or cunning, invisible "counter-revolutionary forces."

A competent leader isn't afraid to say "mea culpa" when he makes a mistake.  They cover up errors by lying, use government agencies to harass opponents, stonewall or derail any investigations by simply refusing to comply with court orders to produce documents...

Gee, this is sounding SO familiar!

Venezuela is about to experience one other...unexpected...consequence of their ghastly socialist mismanagement and corruption:  With inflation running at 500 percent per year the demand for paper currency has been off the charts.  (The country's largest banknote--a 100-bolivar bill--was once analogous to our $100 bill.  Today it will barely buy a single cigarette.)  Like many countries, Venezuela contracts with foreign printing specialists to print its paper currency, so the socialists ordered billions of banknotes--orders costing nearly $100 million.  But with their foreign currency reserves almost exhausted, the country was slow paying the printers--with the result that most of the companies declined to bid to supply the latest orders for banknotes.

So Venezuela is about to run short of currency.  It'll be interesting to see how the people adapt when that happens.

Meanwhile in the U.S., surveys show that over half of American college students in the northeast think socialism is the best economic system.

Guess what party they'll be voting for in November.

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