Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A Lesson For Democrats, Socialists, Liberals, Communists...and whatever other name you go by...Socialism Doesn't Work! Here's the proof!

When Margaret Thatcher said, Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They always run out of other people's money.”  It was soon made into the familiar axiom “The trouble with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money.  And then there are the political pundits and historians who will say, “Historically, Socialism fails wherever it has been tried.”
“While it promised prosperity, equality, and security, it delivered poverty, misery, and tyranny.  Equality was achieved only in the sense that everyone was equal in his or her misery.” ~ Mark J. Perry  on the ultimate failure of socialism wherever it has been tried.
Well this is not history we’re talking about now…it’s happening now!  Right now as we speak! Proof positive that when you run out of other people’s money the system comes crashing down.
Some years ago when Venezuela was a prosperous oil exporting country someone decided (probably Hugo Chavez) that the country with all its prosperity should share it’s wealth among the people…sort of what’s going on in this country right now.  It didn’t take long for the citizens of neighboring countries, especially Columbia to cross over the border for all the freebies.  And what a good deal it was!  At least fifteen or twenty years, and maybe longer (I didn’t have time to look it up) the goodies were hard to refuse…something for nothing as the saying goes.  It’s all coming to a screeching halt!  There is no more money! Hundreds of thousands of the Columbia freeloaders are now hightailing back to Columbia.  Expect the same scenario here when we run out of money…but what are the rest of us who didn’t come for the freebies going to do when the you know what hits the fan?  I have no desire to flee in the mass exodus.  Maybe I’ll set out on the street in front of Nancy Pelosi’s house with a sign, “Will work for food.” …or John Kerry’ house…or Hillary Clinton’s house (I intentionally left out Harry Reid’s house because he lives in the middle of the desert).  Hey, there’s a good story that follows, maybe we can get the aforementioned to read it; it’s a lesson they can learn (But will they?).  ~ Norman E. Hooben
The following from Bloomberg News 
Venezuela’s Poor Neighbors Flee en Masse Years After Arrival

Thirty years after leaving the poverty and violence of Colombia for oil-rich Venezuela, Oscar Mina, a 56-year-old construction worker, is heading home.

“Prices are going up every day and the money bills are worthless,” said Mina, sipping beer with compatriots in the Petare slum of eastern Caracas, militant graffiti on the walls, and trash in the streets. “Is that governing for the poor?”

In a way, no group has benefited more from Venezuela’s socialist revolution of the past 15 years than the millions of Colombians who have moved here in recent decades. Free housing, education and health care turned them into rock-solid supporters of the late President Hugo Chavez.

So it is telling that tens of thousands of them are leaving -- 200,000 in the past few years, according to Ivan De La Vega, a migration scholar at Caracas’s Simon Bolivar University. As the Colombians’ disillusionment with the collapsing economy mounts, it becomes clear that Chavez’s successor, Nicolas Maduro, is in deep trouble. His party -- which already lost the support of the upper and middle classes (many of whom have also left the country) -- appears headed for defeat when congressional elections are held later this year.

In fact, despite a dearth of reliable data about almost everything in Venezuela, a March Datanalisis poll cited by the Washington-based consultancy Eurasia Group, shows 19 percent of voters choosing government candidates in the legislative elections compared with 43 percent for the opposition.

A move back to Colombia is all the more remarkable since Marxist guerrillas still control swathes of countryside there and 31 percent of the population lives in poverty. Last month, 11 soldiers were killed by the guerrillas near Mina’s hometown.

“Worth Going”

It’s still worth going, said Gustavo Diaz, a Colombia native in Caracas who, like his compatriots, has done the jobs Venezuelans look down on in agriculture, building and household services. “Everyone who has any options is leaving,” Diaz, a 58-year-old construction worker, said.

With oil prices slumping, the final straw for many Colombians was Maduro’s ban on remittances last year in an attempt to save scarce foreign reserves and stave off default. Prior to that, they could send wages home at the official exchange rate of 6.3 bolivars per dollar, which translated the minimum monthly wage at the time to about $520 dollars. This compared with a Colombian minimum wage of about $300.

Venezuela had the highest gross domestic product per capita in South America at the peak of the oil boom in 1976. By 2013, it was in fourth place.

Like poor foreign workers in most countries, Colombians have long been viewed with a measure of contempt here and tended not to advertise their origins. But with the reversal in fortunes, links with Colombia are suddenly sources of pride.

Colombian passports issued in Venezuela rose 150 percent in March from a year ago, according to the foreign ministry in Bogota. Applications for repatriation assistance from Venezuela reached a record in the first quarter of the year, the ministry said in an e-mailed response to questions.

Oil Boom

Colombians began crossing the eastern border en masse in the 1940s to escape the civil war and benefit from the oil boom in Venezuela. By the 1990s, they represented 77 percent of all migrants in Venezuela, according to Raquel Alvarez, a sociologist at the Andes University in Venezuela.

Many became voters. There are about 4.5 million Venezuelan citizens of Colombian descent, or about 16 percent of the population, according to estimates by De La Vega.

Once Latin America’s strongest currency, the Venezuelan bolivar has lost 76.7 percent since the start of last year. On the black market, the minimum wage of 5,600 bolivars is worth $20.

Henry Botero, 40, last year renewed his Colombian passport to travel to Bogota to work informally in construction.

Border City

“I never imagined 10 years ago I would be in Colombia, putting up drywall in warehouses to feed my family,” Botero said in the border city of San Cristobal on April 22. “Colombian passports used to be looked down on. Now everyone is trying to claim ancestry.”

Henry said he still prefers to keep his fiancée and child in Venezuela, to benefit from the free health care and education and near-free utilities and rent.

Still, after voting for Chavez for a decade, Botero said he voted for the opposition against Maduro in the last presidential elections in 2013.

Colombian emigration is leaving shops and offices near the border empty, exacerbating the broader downturn. Sergio Vergara, who owns a pharmacy in San Cristobal, said he hasn’t been able to replace a cleaner or security guard after both returned to Colombia late last year.

“It’s impossible to find anyone willing to work for the minimum wage here,” he said.

Raise Unemployment

Meanwhile, the Colombian government is worried that the influx of thousands of unskilled laborers will tax the already stretched public services and raise unemployment, currently at 10 percent in the cities.

“In the border zone there’s an immense socio-economic crisis because of the situation in Venezuela,” said Juan Manuel Corzo, a senator for Colombia’s Norte de Santander region facing San Cristobal.

There are also 205,000 refugees in Venezuela, the vast majority poor Colombians, and Martin Gottwald, deputy head of the United Nation’s refugee agency in Bogota, said many of them may leave.

Discrimination is adding to the economic pain. Maduro has blamed foreign smugglers for food shortages caused by price controls, deporting more than 2,000 Colombians so far this year.

“When they hear our accents in the food line, government activists start abusing us,” said Diaz. “It hurts me to go -- I spent over half my life here -- but this is no longer a country fit for living. It’s completely decayed.”

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