Political idols =failed promises.

Political idols = Failed promises

Ann Coulter wrote about the following in Takimag.com; I am adapting the ideas for this post. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren keep promising FREE HEALTH CARE FOR ALL! NO PREMIUMS! NO CO-PAYS! Illegal aliens er., “undocumented migrants” too. Why not? Can anyone be gullible enough to fall for that? Whatever happened to “there’s no such thing as a free lunch”? That maxim became a dodo as it went by way of “free school lunches”. Yet all of us in the United States who still process truth in our cerebral cortex, as opposed to the limbic system of the social justice narratives, know that someone must pay for anything, since no one works for free.

Let’s consider two of the former economic powerhouses that used to be the pride of Latin America, Argentina and Venezuela. Based on too many years of indigenous people voting for politicians who made Bernie-Liz type promises, Latin America has become the poster child for failed promises of redistribution schemes. Does it seem like Latin American peasants are uniquely amenable to the empty and emotional promises of socialist schemes? No? You say look at China, look at Russia, look at North Korea; they’re communist, but not Latin American. True, but in R, C and NK, Communism came via bloody revolutions, purges and massive death tolls. Latin American peasants mainly voted for the socialist promises, in the guise of charismatic demagogues like Chavez and Peron. They will again, because that’s what they do.

Somehow truthful reporting on Venezuela managed to escape the censors of pro-socialist promises, and the New York Times published a story last week on what socialism has done for the water system in Venezuela: The brick shack on the outskirts of Venezuela’s capital is crowded with tubs, jugs and buckets. The water they hold must last the family of eight for a week — but it’s not enough for frequent washing or flushing, so the kitchen is filled with greasy pots and the house smells of stale urine. And none of the water is treated, making diarrhea and vomit a regular occurrence. ‘We practically live in the bathroom,’ said the mother of the family … [Her daughter] sat nearby, pale and listless, recovering from her latest bout of diarrhea just one month away from childbirth.

Twenty years ago, 60 percent of Venezuelans had regular access to safe drinking water. Today, only 30 percent do. How did this happen? Answer: Poor Venezuelans voted for it. Denouncing “squalid oligarchs,” Hugo Chavez promised Venezuela’s poor: “I will not rest until every human being who lives in this land has housing, employment and some way to manage his life.” The poor were sold! In December 1998, Chavez was elected in a landslide, commemorated with this Seattle Times headline: “VENEZUELAN SLUM DWELLERS VOTE FOR CHANGE.” A triumph for “Social Justice”, or the beginning of the slide into the morass of failed socialist-redistribution promises?

Chavez, immediately implemented a “single-payer” system for health care in Venezuela. He set up free health clinics, opened military hospitals to the poor and deployed tens of thousands of government workers to deliver medical services to the barrios. At Chavez’s invitation, thousands of poor people took up residence in hotels, warehouses and luxurious golf courses. As one of the squatters explained, “We just want a home for our children.” As Ann Coulter wrote, “That could be the epitaph of every once-great country: It was for THE CHILDREN!” Within a year of Chavez taking office, the economy had shrunk by 7.2 percent and unemployment was at 20 percent. A decade into this socialist paradise, the poor were poorer than ever. There were constant blackouts, food shortages and appalling infant mortality rates. (Could what we’re seeing in California be the start of a U.S. “Venezuela”?) Venezuela’s infant mortality from diarrhea alone has sextupled in the past 15 years, according to the World Health Organization. (That’s an estimate, on account of Chavez’s quick response to the crisis, which was to stop releasing public health data.)

Potable water, that most basic element of civilization, is virtually nonexistent. Today, sitting on top of the largest oil reserves in the world, Venezuelans are starving. Chavez didn’t seize power in a military coup. There was no revolution. He wasn’t imposed on Venezuelans by the C.I.A.
He was the people’s choice, elected president in 1998 (with 56 percent of the vote), then re-elected in 2000 (60 percent), then again in 2006 (63 percent) and yet again in 2012 (54 percent). And that’s not counting all the regional, parliamentary, constitutional and referenda elections his party won, over and over and over again.

Eva Peron in Argentina, like Chavez, destroyed a country by offering the poor pie-in-the-sky promises that were to be paid for by “the rich.” In both cases, it took only about a decade to turn two of the wealthiest countries in the world into two of the most dysfunctional. Juan Perón, elected President in 1945, inherited a country with a strong economy. Following World War II, many European nations, in dire financial circumstances, borrowed money from Argentina and some were forced to import wheat and beef from Argentina as well. Perón’s government profited from the arrangement, charging interest on the loans and fees on the exports from ranchers and farmers.

Juan Peron was even popular with the peasants, not for what he accomplished, but because his wife and First Lady of Argentina, Evita, portrayed herself as the fount of material blessings to the poor. By early 1948, Eva was receiving thousands of letters a day from needy people requesting food, clothing, and other necessities. In order to manage so many requests, she created the Eva Perón Foundation in July 1948 and acted as its sole leader and decision-maker. The foundation received donations from businesses, unions, and workers, but these donations were often coerced. People and organizations faced fines and even jail time if they did not contribute. Eva kept no written record of her expenditures, claiming that she was too busy giving the money away to the poor to stop and count it. Sounds logical, heard it before!

But many people, having seen newspaper photos of Eva dressed in expensive dresses and jewels, suspected her of keeping some of the money for herself. Wouldn’t that be shocking? In 1950, Argentina’s postwar export boom tapered off, and inflation and corruption grew. After being reelected in 1951, Juan Peron became more conservative and repressive and seized control of the press to control criticism of his regime. In July 1952, Evita died of cancer, and support for President Peron among the working classes became decidedly less pronounced. One way to think about Argentina in the 20th century is as being out of sync with the rest of the world. It was the model for export-led growth when the open trading system collapsed. After the second world war, when the rich world began its slow return to free trade with the negotiation of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade in 1947, Argentina had become a more closed economy—and it kept moving in that direction under Perón. An institution to control foreign trade was created in 1946; an existing policy of import substitution deepened; the share of trade as a percentage of GDP continued to fall.

Closer to home, there’s Mexico, where the people voted for the Institutional Revolutionary Party for 71 straight years. Total economic failure, year after year. Those who prosper legitimately, like avocado farmers, are besieged by drug cartels, trying to take over so they have another way to launder their massive cash profits. Yes, please, kick me again! The fact that these voluntary hellholes are adjacent to our country is why our southern border is always besieged with desperate Latin Americans. They’re fleeing the very systems that they voted for, and which (80 percent) would willingly vote for again. All immigrants are not the same. Those who voted for empty promises over and over in Mexico, Argentina and Venezuela, will do so here. Which party is the party of empty promises?

Author: iamcurmudgeon

When I began this blog, I was a 70 year old man, with a young mind and a body trying to recover from a stroke, and my purpose for this whole blog thing is to provoke thinking, to ridicule reflex reaction, and provide a legacy to my children.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s