Thursday, March 15, 2007

Socialist Paradise?

Anyone catch this little story from last week?

[Food} Shortages have sporadically appeared with items from milk to coffee since early 2003, when Chavez began regulating prices for 400 basic products as a way to counter inflation and protect the poor.

Yet inflation has soared to an accumulated 78 percent in the past four years in an economy awash in petrodollars, and food prices have increased particularly swiftly, creating a widening discrepancy between official prices and the true cost of getting goods to market in Venezuela.

Most items can still be found but only by paying a hefty markup at grocery stores or on the black market. A glance at prices in several Caracas supermarkets this week showed milk, ground coffee, cheese and beans selling from 30percent to 60percent above regulated prices.

The state runs a nationwide network of subsidized food stores, but in recent months some items have become increasingly hard to find.

Every time it's tried, Socialism fails. Yet the tools of the left still flock to it in droves.

At issue are the price controls set by Chavez, and the storeowner's unwillingness to sell items at a loss. Who wins? Well, Chavez will when he nationalizes the food stores and warehouses. After all, he can rule by decree now!