The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Crazy People

It's amusing to listen to left-leaning talking heads cite polls that indicate that Bernie Sanders would roundly defeat Donald Trump in a general election run. Trump's many flaws have been highlighted by both GOP and Dem super-PACs to the tune of an estimated 50,000 negative TV ads. That's called battlefield prep, and it certainly has had an affect on voter attitudes about Trump. It's also true that Trump's own behavior and outrageous statements haven't helped his cause with many voters.

Right now, Sanders is the polling beneficiary, mostly because there have been very few negative ads that help define him for what he is. It's also true that his most outrageous statements have been softened by the trained hamsters in the media who don't explore them in any depth—"free" expensive stuff, much higher taxes, massive centralized government control of the economy don't seem to interest the "journalists" who cover Sanders. So Bernie polls high. Is that because Sanders is pure as the wind-driven snow? Nope. It's because the Clinton forces are afraid of alienating his supporters, the GOP has focused on the presumptive Dem nominee, Hillary Clinton, and many in the media choose to avoid probing anything that might hurt the Democrat cause.

But what if Bernie's true positions were examined in 30-second time segment? Would attitudes about him change?

The anti-Bernie negative ads write themselves. Let's start with a recent New York Times article that depicted the crash of health care in socialist Venezuela—no medicine, no working equipment, newborn babies dying every night, hospital chaos—all under a "universal" health care program instituted by socialist president Hugo Chavez and continued by socialist president Nicholas Maduro. The NYT forgets to mention Venezuela's economic chaos, food shortages, unemployment, the wholesale destruction of the private sector, and the resultant social unrest, but no matter.

Robert Tacinski comments:
Venezuela has some of the world’s largest supplies of oil, with more proven oil reserves than Saudi Arabia. But about 15 years ago, the late president Hugo Chavez set out to impose a socialist revolution, making a particular point about his great munificence in providing free health care for everyone. In pursuit of this revolution, Chavez crushed every industry outside the oil sector and brought the state-owned oil company under his control. The result has been a long spiral into poverty and oppression. Now we can see the results: socialism literally kills babies.

It began by imagining no possessions. Private property and private businesses and private profit were supposedly the source of everyone’s problems, so the Venezuelan government set out to get rid of them, with Chavez issuing a notorious set of 49 decrees in 2001 that gave him vast power over the economy. He used this power to seize private factories and expropriate foreign owners of Venezuelan firms—ensuring that no foreign investors would want to put a single dollar into the country for the foreseeable future.

A clueless 2009 article in a socialist magazine specifically hailed Chavez’s interventions in agriculture, quoting his assurance that “There is a food crisis in the world, but Venezuela is not going to fall into that crisis. You can be sure of that. Actually, we are going to help other nations who are facing this crisis.” The socialist reforms included redistribution of land, the nationalization of whole sections of the agriculture sector, the formation of socialist agricultural “cooperatives,” generous subsidies and price supports, and the creation of a vast chain of government-subsidized, government-run grocery stores.

When it all started to go wrong, the regime doubled down, blaming private retailers for “hoarding” and “speculation” and prosecuting them for waging an “economic war” against the people. Their solution was to impose price controls, which naturally made things worse, leading Venezuelans to protest by flooding the Internet with photos of empty store shelves.

The failure of this system was papered over by draining the country’s remaining oil profits, loading up on massive borrowing, and imposing a surreal system of currency controls. All of it reads like a vast experiment designed to find out what happens to an economy when you put it under the control of crazy people. But it’s actually what happens when you hand over the economy to people with a fervent belief that government decrees can change the laws of economics and coerce everyone into prosperity.
In a pull-quote form Tacinski's article he writes [about Venezuela]: "All of it [the NYT article] reads like a vast experiment designed to find out what happens to an economy when you put it under the control of crazy people."

Once the general public learns about the vast experiment ("revolution") that Bernie Sanders wants to conduct and recognizes that the same experiment has been conducted with disastrous results in Venezuela, the polls that Bernie's supporters cite just might change.