JD Heyes — Natural News April 26, 2016
Americans enamored with Sen. Bernie Sanders’ socialist economic plans – which essentially amount to taxing the rich (a lot – to the point where they’d leave the country), along with everyone who earns a wage, so that government could make lots of things like college, healthcare and day care for kids “free” – have not been paying much attention to the worsening economic state of Venezuela.
Once one of the richest, most successful countries in South America, life in Venezuela has gotten progressively worse under successive socialist dictators who have nationalized – taken over – once-private corporations and businesses, on the promise that all citizens would benefit from their wealth. Only, what has happened is that government seizure of entire industries has removed all incentives and opportunities for profit, turning them into failures instead of thriving centers of commerce. As such, the people have achieved parity alright – everyone (except the governing elite, of course) is suffering equally.
As reported by Bloomberg News, basic services like water are failing throughout the country. Even in the capital of Caracas, scores of residents don’t have regular, running water anymore, and when they do, it is yellow and contaminated.
Really bad year
This year has been exceptionally hard for Venezuelans, though the situation has been deteriorating steadily for several years. This year, however, violent crime is way up; there are chronic shortages of just about everything – medicine and supplies, food, water, basics like toilet paper, milk and oil, etc.; the health of the population is declining; and the government is failing. To top things off, the price of oil – on which the government primarily depends for income – has also fallen dramatically, laying bare the country’s over-reliance on a single industry, and its inability to raise capital from other sectors, because they either don’t exist, or have been hollowed out by government price control policies and other economic disasters.
As Bloomberg News reported further:
A sudden combination of natural disasters joined man-made failures. The smog, called calima, is a meteorological phenomenon that involves ash and dust clouds fairly common for this time of year. Meanwhile a prolonged drought blamed on El Nino and related forest fires has arrived. Levels at the Guri dam in the south, which produces 40 percent of the country’s electricity, fell to a record low of 242.33 meters [recently].
The government has attempted to deliver potable water to residents in the cities, but oftentimes the delivery trucks are robbed, with gangs forcing drivers to dispense the clean water in an area they control. And, as Natural News reported just days ago, the Venezuelan government can no longer provide basic necessities, and inflation is set to reach an astounding 700 percent this year.
Many of these same problems have been occurring in the United States in the past few years, and they have been occurring at an ever-increasing rate, as our own infrastructure – some of it dating to the turn of the 20th century – begins to fail.
The price of improvement is steep – but the cost of doing nothing is higher
As reports have noted, the Environmental Protection Agency and Michigan environmental officials failed to prevent the contamination of thousands of residents of Flint, who were poisoned with high lead levels in their water, after the city decided to start using a nearby polluted river as its primary water source.
But Flint is far from the only city in America with that problem. The Daily Sheeple reports that other Michigan cities – Grand Rapids, Jackson, Detroit, Saginaw, Muskegon, Holland and several other cities – also have dangerous levels of lead in their water supplies.
And there are many, many other problem areas as well. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, which puts together a report card every four years grading the nation’s infrastructure, in 2013 the U.S. received a grade of “D+,” as the group estimated infrastructure upgrades to water pipes, the electric grid, roads and bridges would surpass $3.6 trillion.
The worst areas of infrastructure, according to the ASCE:
— Energy – D+
— Transit – D
— Aviation – D
— Levees – D-
— Dams – D
— Drinking water – D
Rail received a C+ as did bridges, with “solid waste” scoring the best with a B-. But clearly we have lots of (expensive) work to do to prevent us from becoming the next great big Venezuela.