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Old 09-08-2018, 10:28 AM
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Budget Player Cadet Budget Player Cadet is offline
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 8,548
Anyone remember back in 2010 when most economists were calling for stimulus, and a handful of right-wing economists (and, unfortunately, the house and senate republicans) warned that we would end up like Greece if we didn't take our debt seriously? And remember how the US's situation was nothing like Greece's, and there's absolutely no way for what happened in Greece to happen in a country that can freely print its own currency? And remember how every one of their predictions were painfully, destructively wrong?

I'm getting echoes of that here. The comparisons to Venezuela are just silly. Venezuela's problem is not "socialism". It's single-party authoritarian misrule by populist strongmen who have no idea what the fuck they're doing. It's gross mismanagement and kleptocracy. It's the rich working with the government to take whatever the hell they can get their hands on. There are factors in the USA that resemble this trend, but they aren't currently typified by the people pushing for socialized health care. The comparisons are just batty. To quote that Current Affairs article:

I am not sure what it would mean to call Venezuela’s government left-wing, if it did not follow any of the principles that I consider central to being on the left. For example, it has been accused of being anti-labor; the government “crushed unions while firing and blacklisting tens of thousands of workers for their political opinions,” and “anti-union discrimination, violations of collective bargaining rights and the non-respect of collective agreements were frequent and persistent in both the public and private sector.”
It also quotes this WSJ entry at length:

What struck me on arriving was how little the Socialist leaders cared about even the appearance of equality. They showed up at press conferences in shantytowns in motorcades of brand new armored SUVs. They toured tumbledown factories on live state TV wearing Rolexes and carrying Chanel handbags. They shuttled journalists to decaying state-run oil fields on private jets with gilded toilet paper dispensers.


As the recession took hold in Venezuela, the so-called Socialist government made no attempt to shield health care and education, the two supposed pillars of its program. This wasn’t socialism. It was kleptocracy—the rule of thieves.


Even Mr. Maduro has given up on the Socialist pretence, chucking leftist slogans in favor of straightforward clientelism: Vote for me and you’ll get a food handout. The red flags and shirts of Mr. Chavez’s heyday have largely disappeared from state television, an the ruling Socialist Party is being supplanted by Mr. Maduro’s new, anodyne-sounding political movement, We Are Venezuela.
We can have discussions about socialism and the effect of socialism. But socialism is a slippery word with a lot of different meanings. Some people take it to mean "any government action". Others take it to mean "government ownership of businesses". Others take it to mean "social democracy". Often, people intentionally conflate these definitions to make any action the government could take to make life better for the people sound like a stepping stone on the road to the gulags.

But not only is it profoundly unfair to compare the proposed policies of the American Left to Venezuela no matter what label you use for it, there's really no argument to be made that Venezuela is socialist or leftist to begin with. Here's a tip - when your government is cracking down on labor unions, you're not socialist.

Last edited by Budget Player Cadet; 09-08-2018 at 10:29 AM.