- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 4, 2019

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Venezuela, the country the left had loved to showcase as a good example of what socialism could be — until it started crashing and burning, that is, and then suddenly, the message from the left was that Venezuela wasn’t a socialist nation at all — has now openly admitted its economy is indeed, crashing and burning.

Do tell.

The central bank, for the first time since 2015, according to Quartz, published some in-depth economic data — and guess what: It ain’t looking too good.

Inflation, at the end of 2018, stood at 130,000%. Inflation in 2017 stood at 860%. Inflation in 2016 hit 260%

Inflation, currently, stands at 282,973%.



Unimaginable as those numbers are, the International Monetary Fund thinks they paint too rosy a picture.

“The IMF,” Quartz wrote, “forecasts inflation to be 10,000,000% by the end of this year.”

All that, while the Central Bank of Venezuela also reports a decrease in GDP in the third quarter of 2018 of around 23% and the IMF forecasts that stat to reach 25% by the end of the year.

No investment, no production, no money in — mass blackouts are the norm.

And back in 2011, this is how self-declared socialist-slash-socialist-democrat Sen. Bernie Sanders, one of the Democratic Party’s leading contenders for the White House in 2020, described Venezuela: “These days, the American dream is more apt to be realized in South America, in places such as Ecuador, Venezuela and Argentina, where incomes are actually more equal today than they are in the land of Horatio Alger. Who’s the banana republic now?”

Sanders wrote those words on his own Senate website while trying to make the case that America’s income gaps were unfair and needful of government intervention and manipulation. And while he’s since distanced himself from his glowing support for Venezuela, his communications director, Sarah Ford, told the Washington Examiner the premise of his piece still holds true.

“Sen. Sanders agrees with many of the important points raised in that article with regard to wealth and income inequality,” Ford said.

Well and good.

But not so well and good for America.

If this is the takeaway from Venezuela, where corruption and government crackdowns on all-things-free, then Sanders is still on the wrong side of the fence.

If the people aren’t free, if the markets aren’t free, then economic and societal collapse are imminent — it’s as simple as that.

The left now tries to blame Venezuela’s ills on government corruption, on money mismanagement and shenanigans, on the sudden drop in the oil-rich country’s oil prices — or even on U.S. intervention via sanctions. But truth is, these were all outcomes of a strong-arm government takeover — of a total government control of the economy.

And that’s socialism, folks.

Any candidate for president in the United States, any politician representing free market Americans, any think tank scholar or pundit on television or media voice who couldn’t see the socialism writing on the wall and accurately predict where all this chaos in Venezuela would lead — where all this socialist style takeover has indeed led — doesn’t deserve to be heard.

Or lead.

Venezuela’s predicaments are due entirely to Venezuela’s socialist leanings. It’s good its own banking system at least is finally coming clean on the its government failures. Now we have the confession — how about the repentance?

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter, @ckchumley.

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