Level of human suffering still increases in Venezuela – 10

The country with the more oil reserves that Saudi Arabia is going through the following suffering. Image courtesy of Adobe Stoc.

A country with more oil reserves that Saudi Arabia has death-causing shortages of food and medicine. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

(Cross-post from my other blog.)

The humanitarian disaster in Venezuela keeps getting worse. Ponder for yourself what form of government created this crisis since no news reports will make the connection.

6/26 – Slate – How Much Worse Can Venezuela Get? / The country’s problems are profound and complex, with no easy answers in sight. – After the New York Times front page article noticed the humanitarian travesty, even Slate has an article by writers who noticed the suffering.

A few indicators of suffering these authors see? Food riots breaking out all over. Caracas is now the most violent city in the world. The government-owned and run oil company is seeing production drop because of neglect. Lack of medical supplies is causing unknown numbers of death. Dozens of political prisoners are in jail.

Article goes into more detail than usual as to the cause of the suffering. Corruption and general mismanagement are the most notable reasons cited.

The current turmoil is painted as conflict between the government and opposition in the legislature with both sides blaming the other as the cause of the problems. Most of the power is in the hands of the government with little likelihood of early resolution.

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Accelerating collapse of the Venezuelan economy – 9

Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

(Cross-posted from my other blog. This was originally published on 6/20.)

The economic devastation and human suffering in Venezuela is getting worse by the day. Every article I see shows the economy has taken one more step towards utter collapse.

6/9 – Washington Post – As hunger mounts, Venezuelans turned to trash for food – A man who used to work at a bakery now searches garbage cans for food because he will starve if he doesn’t find something to eat in the trash.

He is joined by small business owners and retired people in the search for enough food to merely stay alive.

Number of people below the poverty line has skyrocketed from 52% as recently as 2014 up to 76% today.

I wonder what could have caused that devastation?

In the 535 word article, the only hint of the reason for this human suffering is citing the government’s claim that the political opposition is intentionally causing this suffering in order to throw the president out of power.

While the WP reporters are incapable of seeing the cause, at least they are able to see the suffering.

6/10 – AFT at Yahoo News – Venezuela lets Maduro recall advance, with threats – Article reports looting is increasing and more protests involve violence.

A protest by opposition legislators resulted in several of them getting beat up. Yes, legislators are getting beaten when they protest.

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Continuing human suffering in Venezuela due to government policies

Shipwreck standing on the beach with the sea in the background. Margarita Island. Venezuela. Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Shipwreck standing on the beach with the sea in the background. Margarita Island. Venezuela. Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

(Cross-posted from my other blog, which was initially published on 6/6. This is #8 series of posts on the crisis in Venezuela.)

Just in case you think I’ve been too hard in my description of the devastation in Venezuela or I’ve been too blunt in laying blame for the suffering at the feet of socialism, just check out Prof. Mark Perry’s column:  Venezuelan apocalypse: Some updates on the epic failure of socialism in oil-rich Venezuela.

Keep in mind this human suffering is taking place in a country that has more proven oil reserves that Saudi Arabia.

Here are a few tidbits from the article:

5/4 – Pan Am Post – Hungry Venezuelans Hunt Dogs, Cats, Pigeons at Food Runs Out – Yes, cats, dogs, and even pigeons are disappearing. As I’ve said before, it is a sign of a famine-in-progress when dogs and cats start to disappear from the streets.

5/15 – BBC News – Venezuela crisis: Maduro threatens seizure of closed factories.

I must quote the professor: (more…)

This is what the lack of freedom looks like

The cost of freedom. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The cost of freedom. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

This freedom stuff is not just some abstract concept. The lack of economic, political, or religious freedom is ugly and painful.

If you want to see what the lack of economic and political freedom looks like, consider Venezuela today.

5/20 – Yahoo News – Venezuela, where a hamburger is officially $170 – That hamburger priced at 1,700 bolivars is US$170 at the official exchange rate. At black market exchange rates it is about a buck and a half.

Article reports that the middle class is sliding into  poverty. Keep in mind people are essentially paid at the official exchange rate.

Stores that sell anything other than food are closed. Article says nobody is buying anything other than food.

What is going on in Venezuela?

5/28 – New York Times – Venezuela Drifts Into New territory: Hunger, Blackouts and Government Shutdown – The New York Times notices the devastation afflicting the people of Venezuela.

Government offices are only open two half-days each week.

Article says protests at empty grocery stores are turning violent.

The bottler producing Coca-cola products cannot find sugar so it is halting production.

Other suffering this article doesn’t mention:

No toilet paper on the grocery store shelf and no international phone service.

The country’s largest beer producer can’t get enough foreign currency to buy hops so it has stopped making beer.

Water is rationed.

Electricity is only available sometimes and randomly at that.

Infants are dying in hospitals because of lack of medicine and respirators.

Back to the NYT article.

When water is on, people are gathering some in spare buckets for use later. The water (when available) is brownish and is making members of one quoted family sick. Many people say either lack of washing or the water itself is causing illness.

What is the cause of this suffering?

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Explanations for the collapsing Venezuelan economy that avoid the actual cause – 7

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

As the level of massive, avoidable, preventable, yet fully predictable suffering expands without end, we see two new explanations for the suffering.

(Cross post from my other blog, Outrun Change.)

5/18 – Daily Mail – No electricity, no antibiotics, no beds, no soap: A devastating look inside Venezuela’s crisis-hit hospitals where 7 babies die a day, bleeding patients lie strewn on the floor, and doctors try to operate without tools. Hospitals have minimal electricity, no soap, no antibiotics, no gloves, no x-rays.

Even The Guardian is seeing horrid problems in the socialist paradise.  Yes, The Guardian!

5/18 – The Guardian – Venezuelans on the food and economic crisis blighting their daily lives / Food shortages and soaring black market prices are making life a misery for  people across the country  – One person says that essentially every grocery store in Caracas has hundreds of people in line every day.

One woman says she has not been able to buy milk, sugar, or corn flour in about the last five months. Toilet paper, soap, and deodorant are very difficult to find as well, she said.

Article tells of supply trucks on their way to a grocery store being looted. There are 107 episodes of looting reported so far in 2016.

Article says many people are spending all their time trying to find food in the stores.

What caused this horrible humanitarian disaster? Here are two new explanations.

We finally know what caused all the suffering

1.It’s the fault of the political opposition

Aha! The Associated Press finally explains the cause of the economic collapse. It is the fault of the opposition political party creating a political standoff. They made this mess, not the current government.

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Venezuela continues slide into chaos – 6

Shipwreck standing on the beach with the sea in the background. Margarita Island. Venezuela. Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Shipwreck standing on the beach with the sea in the background. Margarita Island. Venezuela. Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Things are bad and likely to get far worse for the people living in Venezuela. More reports of looting are appearing in news stories. Read between the lines on the comment from a mayor who says that dogs and cats are disappearing from the streets.

(Cross-post from my other blog, Outrun Change.)

5/14 – Zero Hedge – Scenes From the Venezuela Apocalypse: “Countless Wounded” After 5,000 Loot Supermarket Looking for Food – Opening photo shows over 100 soldiers (by my count) holding back a huge crowd on a street.

Article reports on several specific stores being looted with comments there have been many more in the last two weeks. There is so little food and when available it is expensive. More people are slipping into severe hunger. Widespread looting is the expected next step in the collapse of the country.

The mayor of Chacao in Caracas said the cats and dogs in the city are disappearing. Pigeons as well. That is traditionally a sign of famine.

5/13 – Reuters – U.S. concern grows over possible Venezuela meltdown – officials(more…)

Ongoing deterioration in the Venezuelan economy and increased suffering – 5

Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

The level of suffering is increasing and the economy continues collapsing in Venezuela.

A few articles to describe this live demonstration of the glorious success of socialism:

  • Food becoming scarcer.
  • Soldiers stealing goats so they have something to eat.
  • Hard core socialists blame the suffering on everything but socialism.
  • A better description of the cause. Also, comments that looting and rioting has started to appear.

(Cross-post from my other blog, Outrun Change.)

5/2 – Business Insider – “We want out of this agony’: What it’s like to eat in a country that’s on the verge of collapse – Food is getting even more scarce in Venezuela. You have to stand in line for many hours in order to buy a few items that are on the shelf. Oh, there is little on the shelves.

Poor people are skipping meals because they can’t afford what little can be found, and what little they can find and afford comes with the additional price of standing in line all day.

5/4 – CNBC – How bad is it in Venezuela?  Soldiers are stealing goats – Six soldiers were arrested over the weekend by local police for stealing goats.

Why rip off goats?

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Ongoing deterioration in the Venezuelan economy – 4

The soon-to-be condition of working light bulb in Venezuela. Photo by James Ulvog.

The soon-to-be condition of working light bulbs in Venezuela. Photo by James Ulvog.

One old joke and two new ones:

  • What did socialists use before candles? Electricity.
  • Before tree leaves? Toilet paper.
  • Before the telegraph? Telephone and email.

Was planning to hold on to this post for a while, but the bad news is piling up too fast. Need to print this while it is still of readable length.

Bonus question for the day: What economic system is in place in Venezuela that is producing these results?

4/15 – Yahoo News – In Venezuela, no toilet paper and now lousy phone service The government distributes dollars as it wishes. It has not provided enough dollars to telephone companies and cable companies for them in turn to pay their providers. As a result several international telecoms have cut off long-distance services to the country. In addition vendors providing cable channels are cutting their services because they haven’t been paid.

As a result, telephone service is deteriorating and the number of channels available on cable TV is dropping.

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If you want to increase the number of large animals like elephants and rhinos, allow them to be privately owned and hunted

Kenya and South Africa have taken dramatically different approaches in how to protect large animals.

May not make sense, but I have a plan for you if you want to protect big critters, like rhinos, lions, leopards, elephants, and buffalos (the big 5) along with antelopes and zebras.

What to do? Take South Africa’s approach and allow private ownership of the animals and allow other people to pay the owners of the animals to hunt them.

Like I said, it doesn’t make sense, but incentives matter. And if you want to protect big animals, give individuals incentives to do so.

Kenya and South Africa provide a natural experiment to see which approach works best.

(This article was originally posted at my other blog, Outrun Change. Why cross-post it here? Because I believe this story shows that the approach resembling free enterprise produces a result with a higher level of morality than the alternatives. Private ownership of property produces the moral outcome.  I cannot quite see how it is moral to take actions which cause most of the big animals to die off.)

The following information is from two articles:

Kenya

Kenya bans private ownership of large animals and bans hunting. The country focuses on conservation with funding provided by eco-tourism.

How has that worked?

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Appeals court says devastation from New Deal is still okay; We lost a hero who also suffered at the hands of the New Deal

Did you know the enlightened wizards of the New Deal worked out a plan that raisin producers had to turn over a percentage of their crop to the government and not get paid for the raisins?

Yes, that was actually a plan developed back in the ‘30s.

Did you know that plan is still in place? Eighty years later?

(Cross posted from my other blog, Outrun Change.)

I discussed that a year ago – Economic destruction from the New Deal just keeps rolling on.

The lawsuit I mentioned back then involved farmers who were told to give 47% of their ’02 crop and 30% of their ’03 crop to the government without compensation.  The case went to the Supreme Court, which ruled the farmers did actually have standing to sue the government. The case went to the 9th Circuit Court for consideration of their claims.

Guess what?

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More examples of unintended consequences

Five more examples of unintended consequences.  The problem? People don’t always do what you tell them. They often do something totally different from what you expected. (Cross-posted from my other blog, Nonprofit Update.)

Cracked describes 5 Laws That Made Senses on Paper (And Disasters in Reality). (Caution, some naughty words.) These examples are from government.  My three favorites are how to:

  • increase number of guns on the street
  • increase number of cobras on the loose
  • increase pollution from cars

Gun buybacks increase number of guns on the street. (more…)

The Great Recession just sort of happened. The Fed had absolutely nothing to do with it.

A long article from the Federal Reserve on the housing bubble and recovery from the great recession doesn’t mention the fed’s role in anything other than generating the recovery. See:  Subprime Mortgage Crisis. Absolutely no mention of the massive role played by easy money and Congressional policy pumping up the housing market.

The first part of the article is called How and Why the Crisis Occurred.

The short paraphrase is the runup in housing prices, increased demand for homes, surge in subprime loans, collapse of prices, and mass of foreclosures kinda’ sorta’ just happened.

No cause mentioned, especially no role assigned to the federal government in general or the Fed in particular.

Let’s look at the article in more detail.

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Minimum wage laws hurt people with lower skills

Video of Milton Friedman explaining why there are no helpful features of minimum wage laws.

Who is hurt? People whose skill sets have economic value less than the arbitrary minimum wage. Those people will be unemployed.

Some key ideas from the video:

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Lots of blame for the financial crisis of ’08 falls on the federal government

There is a huge amount of blame to be spread for the Great Recession that started in 2008. While the recession technically ended four years ago back in June of 2009, most people in California and lots of charities here are still feeling the effects.

I see exquisitely little discussion of how intentional federal policies created the distortions that led to the financial crisis. An op-ed in the Wall Street Journal by Phil Gramm and Mike Solon help explain why much of the blame belongs to the federal government:  The Clinton-Era Roots of the Financial Crisis.

To make this non-partisan, I’ll point out that the flawed policies from the Clinton administration were ratified, continued, and extended by the Bush administration. Not to worry, both parties have worked lots of overtime to earn their share of blame.

While you can argue on the proportionate blame between the two parties, I’ll point out that regardless of the allocation you determine, 100% of that particular allocation falls on deliberate federal policy.

Initial efforts to persuade private pension plans to fund low-income housing failed. The administration forced (more…)

Q: Can tax policy kill off a popular industry?

A: Yes.

How the Taxman Cleared the Dance Floor in the Wall Street Journal explains a 30% excise tax on any venue that served food and had dancing did in two-thirds of the very popular dance clubs. Passed in 1944, the so-called ‘cabaret tax’ was intended to hit those filthy rich people who dined and danced in fancy places.

Eric Felton explains shortly after the tax was passed, the Bureau of Internal Revenue provided a very broad definition of what places the tax applied. It covered anyplace that served food and dancing with live singing. Those were an extremely popular form of entertainment during and after WWII.

The entire industry of dining and dancing was devastated: (more…)