Strong-Arm Dictator vs. Strong-Arm Regulation

Last Saturday (the 9th) USA Today, or as Jay Severin calls it, Mcpaper, posted an article on the effective nationalization or government takeover of what they described as Venezuela’s equivalent to Best Buy. The chain stores name is “Daka” and has five stores located in Venezuela.

USA Today reported that the president of Venezuela, Nicolas Hussein Maduro (just kidding. I added the Hussein.) ordered a military “occupation” of the stores and commanded that the company charge its customers “fair” prices.

Evidently shoppers rejoiced at the news. One customer looking for a plasma TV said, “It’s going to be so cheap.” She waited seven hours outside the Caracas store. I don’t think she was asked if she had adequate electricity to run her new TV, what with constant rolling blackouts thanks to Hugo Chavez’s nationalization of energy production and distribution.

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Many believe this is just a political stunt designed to boost Maduro’s sagging poll numbers running up to their December 8 election.

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maduro obamaAs happens with such regimes that take over whole industries, shortages soon follow as it has in Venezuela. Shortages of basics such as toilet paper and milk, coupled with an inflation rate of over 54%.

USA Today reports that their currency is expected to be devalued soon after the election, which will probably then lead to hyperinflation. This will lead to much higher prices and further shortages.

Okay, so it’s Venezuela. So what? It’s not like those types of things could ever happen in America; where the government effectively sets selling prices for private companies, right? Wrongo! In fact, as is often the case, it has happened in America and history could very well repeat itself.

In 1933, the great Socialist progressive leader Franklin D. Roosevelt set up artificial wage and price controls under the banner of the “Blue Eagle,”
and like all socialists do-gooder programs that seek to usurp the market, it didn’t turn out well. It never does.

Venezuela’s Maduro has gone so far as to arrest Daka store managers. They are apparently enemies of the state; the evil capitalists.

Now, do I really think that Obama will order the military to storm the local Best Buy and lock up the management? No, of course not (he says with a smirk). However, I could easily see a scenario of a lefty state, say California, or maybe a city, say Los Angeles, initiating local price controls. Why not? A lot of states and cities have their own minimum wage separate from the federal. That seems to go unchallenged. It would be simple to say to a business, “Sell your products at prices we demand or pick up and leave our city or state.”

We all know that these types of wacky socialist ideas originate in states like California, and within a decade or so, whatever policy has spread over the entire nation.

Statists, progressives, Marxists, however, we wish to classify them, at least in this country, have learned that the strong-arm dictator approach does not fare well here. The statists have learned enough to replace it with the strong arm of faceless regulation. Both get the job done. The regulation angle may take a bit longer, but the aim and the result is identical and just as nefarious.

When we think about it, what’s the difference between the takeover of a chain store and the takeover of the entire health-insurance industry, save for locking up their management?

Give them time.

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