WASHINGTON, April 19, 2016 — In Latin America, democratic socialism is taking it in the shorts. So it’s a stroke of good luck for Democratic presidential candidate and self-proclaimed democratic socialist Bernie Sanders that college-age voters who “feel the Bern” are as unlikely to find Venezuela on a map as they are the vast Pacific Ocean.
“We have the highest inflation on the planet,” Venezuelan economist Miguel Ángel Díaz told El Universal. “A family needs 18 minimum wages in order to purchase the basic food basket.”
The average Venezuelan would have to work four days to earn enough to purchase 2 pounds of cheese.
In 2015, Venezuela’s socialist government raised the nation’s minimum wage by 52 percent. “In times of economic warfare,” said President Nicolás Maduro, “special measures are needed to protect workers and the middle class.”
That increase, coming after a massive currency devaluation coupled with astronomical inflation, amounted to no more than $13 a month.
When Germany was beset by economic turmoil in the 1930s, National Socialist leader Adolf Hitler raged against international Jewry for conspiring against the German middle class. Likewise, Venezuela’s democratic socialists rail against shadowy external enemies waging “economic warfare” against their unsustainable economic model.
When a meeting of oil-producing nations failed to reach an agreement to freeze production in an effort to boost prices, Venezuela’s oil minister Eulogio Del Pino blamed the United States. “They [the U.S.] are doing this for political reasons,” he declared.
Sorry Eulogio, but fracking in North America, the lifting of sanctions on Iranian oil exports and low demand for black gold brought on by a slowing global economy have all added to a glut in oil and Venezuela’s woes.
The Washington Post finds it ironic that a nation with “the largest oil reserves in the world” sits on the edge of bankruptcy and starvation.
But the Post later admits that Venezuela “started spending more money on the poor, with everything from two-cent gasoline to free housing. Now there’s nothing wrong with that—in fact, it’s a good idea in general—but only as long as you actually, well, have the money to spend. And by 2005 or so, Venezuela didn’t,” said the paper.
Maduro once said, “We need to reduce extreme consumption to achieve a point of equilibrium between supply and a fair price.”
And socialism has reduced Venezuelan consumption quite nicely through a mechanism familiar to those who have the misfortune to live under that system: scarcity.
“From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs” doesn’t work in Venezuela or anywhere else.
Want, misery and equality are interchangeable concepts under socialism. That’s a lesson America’s college-age Sanders supporters will learn if they can ever manage to find Venezuela on a map.