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

Sunday, May 01, 2016


Over the past few years, I've posted now and then about Venezuela—an all too common example of how the socialist model applied to a previously thriving country ultimately leads to ruin. Following a playbook that could have been written by "democratic socialist" Bernie Sanders, Venezuela's leadership has:
  • demonized private enterprise
  • advocated the breakup and take over of major private institutions
  • increased debt (borrowing from China) to levels that are unsustainable
  • practiced an extreme form of class warfare
  • rewarded cronies and punished those companies that have not ingratiated themselves with the socialist government
  • promised "the poor" benefits that required dramatic tax increases on everyone else, and then failure to materialize
  • grew an already corrupt government until the resultant national debt and inflation ruined its economy.
The leaders of Venezuela achieved a socialist utopia that was dystopian. This week, electricity in Caracas is available 2 days a week, food in stores and markets is projected to run out in 15 days, corruption and black market enterprises are rampant ... but hey, the socialist model is the working person's salvation. Right?

But back to Bernie. His legion of naive supporters would argue that Venezuela is not an appropriate example for Bernie's philosophy. That things that have happened in Venezuela under socialist rule couldn't possibly happen in the United States. That Bernie's extreme prescription for America would somehow lead to a result different than the one now endured by our South American neighbor.

Tens of millions of Democrats feel the Bern. That tells us a lot more about the Democrat party that it does about the likelihood that Sanders leadership would somehow be the first example in human history of successful socialist doctrine applied over the long term. The Democrat's would argue that it takes faith and belief in hope and change ... oops, we've just has eight years of experience in that kind of fantasy thinking, but ... whatever.

Richard Fernandez comments:
The Venezuelan tragedy reminds us that because collapse happens "gradually then all of a sudden" a slow decline can mask the approach of the discontinuity. Suddenly, says Victor Davis Hanson, American public policy has forgotten all the lessons of World War 2. One fine day Saudi Arabia woke up broke. OPEC has unexpectedly become an association of beggars. And China turns out to be sitting on a financial bubble. By some poorly understood process the invisible line dividing the troublesome and unendurable, the recoverable and irrecoverable is crossed without anyone noticing. It appears to happen suddenly.
Bernie's popularity will have an profound affect on the eventual Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton. She will careen Left in a desperate attempt to woo some of Bernies' supporters. Should she win in November, her administration would continue the sad leftist legacy of slow decline under the leadership of Barack Obama. At some point during the next eight years "...the invisible line dividing the troublesome and unendurable, the recoverable and irrecoverable [will be] crossed without anyone noticing." And it will all appear to have happened unexpectedly and even suddenly.