Tag Archives: Socialism

How well are Democrat Party economic policies working out in Venezuela?

I think that when we discuss economics, we should try to identify where specific policies have been tried and then we should observe the consequences to the people who tried them. Often, in college and university classrooms, one view of economics is sold to students by professors as the “nice” view. The professors, many of whom have never worked in the private sector in their entire lives, tell the students that socialism is the “nice” point of view, and anyone who disagrees is “mean”. Is that the right approach to teaching young people what to believe about economics?

Are Barack Obama and Hugo Chavez very different?
Are Barack Obama and Hugo Chavez very different?

Let’s take a look at this article from Yahoo News about socialist dictator Hugo Chavez’s country of Venezuela, a country much admired by people on the socialist left.

It says:

All the lady wanted was some chicken. But in shortage-plagued Venezuela, she waited in line five hours, only to go home empty-handed.

“I got here at 5:30 am and came away with nothing! It is just not fair that you have to work so hard — and then put up with these lines,” said an exasperated Lileana Diaz, a 49-year-old receptionist at a hospital emergency room.
Venezuelans have been enduring shortages of the most basic goods, such as toilet paper, for more than a year.

In Caracas, a cottage industry has emerged with people who will wait in line for you — at a price.

But things are even worse outside the capital.

The problems are staggering here in Valencia, an industrial city west of the capital of this oil-rich country.

Valencia has big factories that produce food and other essentials. Still, the list of goods in short supply is long.

It includes coffee, cooking oil, cornmeal, soap, detergent, you name it.

Chicken is one of the most coveted.

Frustrated shoppers like Diaz are legion.

One tells the story of people who climbed over a fence to get a good place in line outside a store, prompting police to intervene and stop scuffles that broke out.

Another lady shopper shows off a nasty bruise on her right leg, thanks to a fight she got into as she tried to buy disposable diapers.

In recent weeks, the lines of people waiting hopefully outside supermarkets and stores have grown longer in cities away from the coast, such as Maracaibo, Puerto Ordaz and Cumana.

Venezuelan media have reported situations of nerves running very, very high and shoppers coming close to looting.

At times it has gotten that bad, in fact. In late January, one person died and dozens were arrested in the chaos of a looting outbreak at stores in the town of San Felix in the southern state of Bolivar.

[…]In another supermarket in Valencia, a line 50 meters (yards) long snakes away from the entrance.

“We call these ‘holding out hope lines,’ because once you get inside, there is nothing on the shelves,” said Oscar Oroste, a 53-year-old chef.

Oroste said that until recently, people would wait in line knowing what was available to buy. “Now, people are in line but do not even know what they will be sold.”

Venezuelans go from supermarket to supermarket, and store to store, clamoring for basic necessities which have prices regulated by the leftist government.

But some buy just to resell at a handsome profit, and economists say that is another source of the shortages.

Egne Casano, a 28-year-old homemaker, said things are a bit better in Caracas. “I went there not long ago and saw that there is a better supply,” she said.

[…]In the long lines, people digest their woes with a mix of humor, resignation and anger.

At another supermarket in Valencia, a whopping 600 people stood in line under a blazing sun to buy powdered milk.

Graciela Duran, a retiree, got a kilo of it after waiting for four hours.

“I was lucky today, Sometimes I come and there is nothing,” she said.

“Waiting in huge lines is what we do all day, every day,” said Duran, shielding herself from the sun with an umbrella.

A dozen police were stationed at the entrance of the store and around the parking lot through which the queue moved.

A truck drove by and the driver shouted out sarcastically: “Homeland, homeland, beloved homeland.”

That comes from a song that late president Hugo Chavez used to sing and is heard often on government-run media and at official events.

If you’re interested in real statistics on Venezuela, I recommend this recent article from The Economist, which is as far left as Venezuela is, and endorsed Barack Obama.

In socialism, the main purpose of policies is to make the leftist leaders at the top receive applause. They say things that will get them applause from the people. The policies are not intended to lift people out of poverty, otherwise Zimbabwe, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, etc. would all be rich and prosperous. The policies are intended to make the leaders feel good about themselves. “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor”. “If you like your health plan, you can keep your health plan”. It’s not true, it’s just meant to make economically-illiterate people applaud.

So why do we keep voting for socialism, when we know it doesn’t work?

Related posts

Is the root cause of crime poverty or fatherlessness?

Marriage and family
Marriage and family

If we were really serious about stopping crime, then we should go after the root cause of crime. So what is that root cause? The answer might surprise you.

Here is Dr. Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation to explain:

Census data and the Fragile Families survey show that marriage can be extremely effective in reducing child poverty. But the positive effects of married fathers are not limited to income alone. Children raised by married parents have substantially better life outcomes compared to similar children raised in single-parent homes.

When compared to children in intact married homes, children raised by single parents are more likely to have emotional and behavioral problems; be physically abused; smoke, drink, and use drugs; be aggressive; engage in violent, delinquent, and criminal behavior; have poor school performance; be expelled from school; and drop out of high school.[19] Many of these negative outcomes are associated with the higher poverty rates of single mothers. In many cases, however, the improvements in child well-being that are associated with marriage persist even after adjusting for differences in family income. This indicates that the father brings more to his home than just a paycheck.

The effect of married fathers on child outcomes can be quite pronounced. For example, examination of families with the same race and same parental education shows that, when compared to intact married families, children from single-parent homes are:

  • More than twice as likely to be arrested for a juvenile crime;[20]
  • Twice as likely to be treated for emotional and behavioral problems;[21]
  • Roughly twice as likely to be suspended or expelled from school;[22] and
  • A third more likely to drop out before completing high school.[23]

The effects of being raised in a single-parent home continue into adulthood. Comparing families of the same race and similar incomes, children from broken and single-parent homes are three times more likely to end up in jail by the time they reach age 30 than are children raised in intact married families. [24] Compared to girls raised in similar married families, girls from single-parent homes are more than twice as likely to have a child without being married, thereby repeating the negative cycle for another generation.[25]

Finally, the decline of marriage generates poverty in future generations. Children living in single-parent homes are 50 percent more likely to experience poverty as adults when compared to children from intact married homes. This intergenerational poverty effect persists even after adjusting for the original differences in family income and poverty during childhood.[26]

People on the left claim that poverty causes crime, but they don’t look for the root cause of poverty. The root cause of poverty is the decline of marriage, which produces fatherless children. Unfortunately, some people promote the decline of marriage because they do not like the “unequal gender roles” inherent in marriage. So what is the main tool that the anti-marriage people use to increase the number of fatherless children?

Dr. Michael Tanner of the libertarian Cato Institute explains one of the causes of fatherlessness in his testimony to Congress:

Welfare contributes to crime in several ways. First, children from single-parent families are more likely to become involved in criminal activity. According to one study, children raised in single-parent families are one-third more likely to exhibit anti-social behavior.(3) Moreover, O’Neill found that, holding other variables constant, black children from single- parent households are twice as likely to commit crimes as black children from a family where the father is present. Nearly 70 percent of juveniles in state reform institutions come from fatherless homes, as do 43 percent of prison inmates.(4) Research indicates a direct correlation between crime rates and the number of single-parent families in a neighborhood.(5)

As Barbara Dafoe Whitehead noted in her seminal article for The Atlantic Monthly:

The relationship [between single-parent families and crime] is so strong that controlling for family configuration erases the relationship between race and crime and between low income and crime. This conclusion shows up time and again in the literature. The nation’s mayors, as well as police officers, social workers, probation officers, and court officials, consistently point to family break up as the most important source of rising rates of crime.(6)

At the same time, the evidence of a link between the availability of welfare and out-of-wedlock births is overwhelming. There have been 13 major studies of the relationship between the availability of welfare benefits and out-of-wedlock birth. Of these, 11 found a statistically significant correlation. Among the best of these studies is the work done by June O’Neill for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Holding constant a wide range of variables, including income, education, and urban vs. suburban setting, the study found that a 50 percent increase in the value of AFDC and foodstamp payments led to a 43 percent increase in the number of out-of-wedlock births.(7) Likewise, research by Shelley Lundberg and Robert Plotnick of the University of Washington showed that an increase in welfare benefits of $200 per month per family increased the rate of out-of-wedlock births among teenagers by 150 percent.(8)

The same results can be seen from welfare systems in other countries. For example, a recent study of the impact of Canada’s social-welfare system on family structure concluded that “providing additional benefits to single parents encourages births of children to unwed women.”(9)

The poverty that everyone complains about is not the root cause of crime. The poverty is caused by fatherlessness. The fatherlessness is caused by welfare. Fatherlessness is also caused by laws and policies that make it easier for people to divorce, e.g. – no-fault divorce laws. Again, it’s people on the left who push for no-fault divorce laws. So the left is pushing two policies, welfare and no-fault divorce, which cause crime.

Bobby Jindal: policies of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are the same as Greece

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal

Here’s an excellent editorial by Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal in left-leaning Time magazine.

He writes:

It’s simple math to understand what is happening in Greece right now. When Greece joined the euro, it benefited from the financial support of its more fiscally responsible neighbors in the euro zone. Rather than taking the opportunity to enact the structural reforms that could have increased growth — reforms that it still has not undertaken — Greece instead went on a spending spree funded by other people’s money.

Greece has been cooking the books with complicated financial instruments for years. But the problems don’t stop there. Greece’s Rubik’s Cube tax code and rampant corruption make tax evasion widespread. Golden parachute public pensions that allow public sector workers to retire as early as 45 drain dollars out of the government coffers while incentivizing a still healthy and work-age workforce to live on the public dime. It’s hard to have sufficient tax paying workers when about 75% of Greek public-sector employees retire by the age 61.

Did the new socialist government run by 40-year-old child Alex Tsipras fix anything?

They made it worse:

After taking office in January, the Alexis Tsipras administration reversed promised privatization of state-owned assets like the Port of Piraeus. In 2011, the IMF predicted Greece could bring in 50 billion euros ($56 billion) from the sale of state assets, not to mention the savings from moving those employees off the public wage and benefit system. To date, it has raised about 3 billion euros.

Business has no interest in creating jobs when crushed by government regulation. Tspiras promised to raise the minimum wage, despite the economy spiraling out of control. It’s not surprising the March unemployment rate stood at 25.6%.

Privatization is a thing that conservatives do, because we don’t like the idea that government workers get automatic pay from compulsory taxation. We prefer that whoever is providing services be in the private sector, as independent from government influence as possible. That way, they actually have to compete with other providers to earn your money – something a government monopoly never has to do.

Anyway, back to Greece socialism. Who would be stupid enough to raise taxes, raise minimum wage, increase spending and promise people more free stuff as a way of getting out of debt?

These two unqualified clowns, that’s who:

Clinton and Sanders are math deniers, like most of the Democrats in D.C. They want to grow the government economy instead of the real American economy. Rather than pursuing tax reform to improve growth or entitlement changes to reduce future expenditures, Clinton and Sanders are focused on spending trillions on Obamacare, giving free college to everyone, and raising the federal minimum wage.

Since January 2007, Democrats have added well over $10 trillion to the national debt, running it up to $18.5 trillion, higher than the entire GDP of the country. What have we got for that? Fewer people in the labor force, and more people dependent on government, that’s what. But oh, you can marry your siblings and pets now, because lurve, so that’s something.

OK, so let’s talk about Bobby Jindal. Initially, I had him slotted in as my #2 candidate with Scott Walker on top. But Walker has had two months and hasn’t done anything super conservative. Meanwhile, Jindal has offered a lot of red meat to conservatives on marriage and right to life, and now we have this aggressive condemnation of socialism, too. I think Jindal is now my top pick, and Walker is next, then Cruz. Fiorina is looking better at this point and is #4, and Rubio is off my list entirely.

Public schools implanting IUDs in sixth-grade girls without parent’s knowledge

Political spending by the NEA in 2013
Political spending by the National Education Association in 2013

What does big government really look like? What does it mean for individuals, families, businesses and churches to give their money to the government so that the government can distribute it as they see fit?

Well, Seattle is one of the most liberal cities in America and they embody the idea of big government. Let’s see how they spend the massive amounts of money they extract from individuals, families, businesses and churches.

Life News reports.

Excerpt:

Earlier this month, LifeNews.com reported on a high school in Seattle, Washington that is now implanting intrauterine devices (IUD), as well as other forms of birth control and doing so without parental knowledge or permission.

The IUD is known as a long acting reversible contraception, and may even act as an abortifacient. So, a young teen in Seattle can’t get a coke at her high school, but she can have a device implanted into her uterus, which can unknowingly kill her unborn child immediately after conception. Or, if she uses another method, she can increase her chances of health risks for herself, especially if using a new method.

The high school, Chief Sealth International, a public school, began offering the devices in 2010, made possible by a Medicaid program known as Take Charge and a non-profit, Neighborcare. Students can receive the device or other method free of cost and without their parent’s insurance. And while it’s lauded that the contraception is confidential, how can it be beneficial for a parent-child relationship when the parents don’t even know the devices or medication their daughter is using?

As it turns out, Chief Sealth isn’t the only school in Seattle doing this. As CNS News reports, more schools are fitting young girls — as young as 6th grade — with the devices and doing so without their parents knowing.

Now how did this happen? Where did the public schools get the authority to have control of these children? And where did the money come from to pay for these schools?

The answer is that the money was taken from individuals, families, businesses and churches and given to the government. And how does a secular government spend this money? Do they spend it the same way that individuals, families, businesses and churches spend this money? No. They spend the money advancing their secular agenda, which, in this case, is to advance feminism and the sexual revolution. They want young girls to be available for sex, because they helps them to be less capable of life-long married love. A woman who has had a large number of break-ups, abortions, etc. at a young age is more likely to look to government, not to a husband, for support.  Undermining her father’s authority in the area of sexuality is exactly what they are trying to achieve. And the father is paying to be undermined with his tax dollars.

Do unemployment benefits discourage people from working?

I noticed that the latest jobs report showed that the percentage of work-eligible Americans working was at a 38-year-low.

CNS News reports:

A record 93,626,000 Americans 16 or older did not participate in the nation’s labor force in June, as the labor force participation rate dropped to 62.6 percent, a 38-year low, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In June, according to BLS, the nation’s civilian noninstitutional population, consisting of all people 16 or older who were not in the military or an institution, hit 250,663,000. Of those, 157,037,000 participated in the labor force by either holding a job or actively seeking one.

Now, let me ask you this. Does paying people to not work cause more people to not work? It seems to me that whatever you subsidize, you get more of, and whatever you tax, you get less of.

Now look at this article from the radically-leftist New York Times.

It says:

Before this recession, most economists probably thought that some amount of unemployment benefits were just and compassionate, and offered a sense of security even to people who were lucky enough to retain their jobs, despite the fact that the program would raise unemployment rates and reduce both employment and economic output.

In other words, unemployment benefits shrink the economy to some degree, but shrinking the economy a bit may be a price worth paying.

Unemployment benefits were thought to reduce employment and output because, by definition, working people were ineligible for the benefits. In particular, an unemployed person who finds and starts a new job, or returns to working at his previous job, is supposed to give up his unemployment benefits. Economists had found that a large fraction of unemployed people delay going back to work solely because the unemployment insurance program was paying them for not working.

Here’s a new study explaining how the “generosity” of the big government Democrat Party actually encourages people to avoid working, and to remain dependent on the government for their “income”.

A study published by two labor economists, Stepan Jurajda and Frederick J. Tannery, looked at employment histories for unemployment insurance recipients in Pittsburgh in the early 1980s. Unemployment rates got quite high in Pittsburgh in those days, reaching 16 percent at one point, and staying over 10 percent for two and a half years.

The chart below summarizes their findings for Pittsburgh.

The chart displays the fraction of persons (in Pittsburgh) receiving unemployment benefits who began working again, as a function of the number of weeks until their unemployment benefits were scheduled to be exhausted. For example, a “hazard” value of “0.04″ for week “-14″ means that, among unemployed persons with 14 weeks remaining until their benefit exhaustion date, 4 percent of them either began working a new job or returned to their previous job.

The chart:

Unemployment offers a disincentive to find work
Unemployment benefits offer a disincentive for Americans to find work

The most troubling thing about this is what is not said in the chart or the study – think about the children growing up in these households where their parents, especially the fathers, are not working. What are they learning about self-sufficiency and the role of government? They are the ones who we are going to task with paying for our lavish entitlement programs in the future. Are people who think that dependency on government is normal being trained to pay for the exploding costs of Social Security and Medicare?