Down in Venezuela, things just get worse and worse. Writing yesterday in Canada's Globe and Mail, Alberto Vargas Llosa describes how Venezuela's dictator Nicolas Maduro has only one solution to propose, which is to "double down." The title is "As despair spreads in Venezuela, Maduro doubles down." Seems that they took blowout government spending, price controls and industry nationalizations as far as they could. But now they have run out of other people's money, and they are moving into the military repression phase. Excerpt:
The more the country sinks into despair, the worse the repression and militarization. . . . The military, which already controls more than half the ministries, oil giant PDVSA and a bank, now commands the crippled economy. Mr. Maduro has given exceptional powers to General and Defence Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez, who is in charge of food distribution. The government, which had already reduced the National Assembly’s opposition majority to impotence, has now barred from office every elected official who signed up to recall Mr. Maduro.
And how is the economy doing?
The country’s GDP has had 10 consecutive quarters of negative growth. (The annualized rate is now minus 12 per cent.) Investment is down 26 per cent from 2015. Consumption, which had fallen precipitously, is down another 16 per cent this year.
Well, thank God that we don't have that kind of thing in the United States! But wait, should we check in on what's happening with Obamacare? A fair description is that Obamacare is in the relatively early stages of the Socialist Death Spiral. Millions of individuals ordered to purchase mis-designed and overpriced government insurance products are declining to do it. Insurers are rapidly exiting markets where they have figured out that they can't make money. Those remaining are often increasing premiums in the range of 20 - 40%. Can this thing possibly survive?
And if you look around, you will find that progressives all think they have they answer. We just need to double down! At FiveThirtyEight on August 31, we have "Insurers Can Make Obamacare Work, But They Need Help From Congress." Excerpt:
Congress needs to make fixes, the most important being subsidizing more of the premiums paid by middle-class customers — the kind of midcourse adjustment that Congress routinely makes for Medicare but which has been politically impossible for Obamacare.
Some more money from the Infinite Credit Card will surely do the trick! Or try Jeffrey Young at the Huffington Post on July 6, "If Obamacare Is Here To Stay, It's Going To Need Some Fixing. Here Are 5 Ways How." The short version of all five is, just spend more of the free government money and order that everybody must have affordable healthcare.
Cover More Of The Uninsured. . . . Make Health Care More Affordable. . . . Expand Medicaid In More States.
Nothing to it! Oh, and throw in a big dose of price controls:
For people with health insurance policies that require them to pick up a bigger share of their medical costs out-of-pocket, these new miracle drugs are largely unaffordable. . . . “Right now, there’s no control over what those costs should be,” [Ron] Pollack [of FamiliesUSA] said. “There probably ultimately will need to be some kind of control in prices.
Yes, price controls -- they sure have worked out well in Venezuela! Well, at least we're still in the more handouts and price controls phase of doubling down on socialism. The military repression phase seems so far away!