Will the continued Chavista revolution ...

...under Maduro with Cuban 'advisors' achieve the neo-socialist ideal: a classless society, all equally poor?

The very rich Venezuelans locked up their estates, left them guarded, and went to Miami/South Florida a while ago, and have been trying to persuade its politicians to get the CIA to invade Venezuela. With 57% inflation, the middle class, especially any bureaucrats on salary (police?), will soon be poor. As the ranks of the poor swell with those who remember when it was better, perhaps politics will change. Meanwhile for the poor who never knew better this evolving Chavista 'democracy' has been a party, low class & nasty, but little by little they're getting more.

Marx was more a philosopher than an economist. Still he accurately predicted the main problem of global capitalism today: the increasingly unequal distribution of wealth & power. But, clearly, dyed-in-the-wool Marxists may be the most poorly prepared administrators to run any national economy. Wage & price controls sank the Sandinista governing junta in the early years after the revolution, just as it's doing to Chavista Venezuela today.

In the early years of Hugo's revolutionary social 'correction' he could strip mine what exploration, industrialization & logistics had built. Now, under Cuban intellectual direction, they're running out of dollars to import stuff and they do need to import more & more, as they manufacture/grow less & less. For the main source of dollars, petroleum sold to the USA, production is suffering because too little is being spent on maintenance. So Venezuela has stopped paying dollars to creditors, like airlines. Maduro threatens to disallow them access to what all know will someday again be a rich country if they don't continue extending the Venezuelan gov't credit. Are any cowed? Meanwhile expropriated farms are idle, for lack of seed, fertilizer, pesticides, working machinery, and peons - as it was with the Soviet system, some jobs are less equal, eh citizen?

So why doesn't 'Communist' China bail them out? They could easily stuff a few containers with dollars & euros and ship it over. Too risky an investment? Too poor a place to put their capital?

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A Conversation on Economic Visions

I offer this conservation as something to think about in the way of fair economics. It is not the answer but, rather, two people with different ideas discussing economic visions.

Gar Alperovitz and Michael Albert have been at the forefront of efforts to design and build an economy beyond capitalism for decades - efforts that have become even more relevant in our age of economic and ecological crises. Albert’s Participatory Economics (Parecon), developed in collaboration with Robin Hahnel, outlines a comprehensive vision of an ethical economic system, in which bottom-up democratic decision making takes the place of market-driven competition. Gar Alperovitz’s Pluralist Commonwealth model extrapolates from existing experiments in the democratization of wealth to build a systemic and multilayered answer to the urgent systemic challenges we are facing as a society. While both share a fundamental commitment to real democracy and true economic justice, the differences between Alperovitz and Albert’s respective models help illuminate what’s really at stake in system change. They recently sat down to better understand where their trajectories intersect or diverge; below is a transcript of the highlights of their conversation:

What type of Government does't have this problem?

"Marx was more a philosopher than an economist. Still he accurately predicted the main problem of global capitalism today: the increasingly unequal distribution of wealth & power."

I would say inequitable distribution of wealth & power. The people who control the purse strings give themselves large bonuses even when not preforming to justify those bonuses. This is a problem, but at least there is a middle class still. Some wealth is still being distributed, just not justly. But, the middle class is shrinking and corrections need to be made. Democracies can put pressure on the government to make those corrections. Can citizen of other governmental types apply such pressure?

What type of government or economy can do a better job? Nicaragua, Russia, Cuba, Venezuela are not better. Almost no wealth is distributed. Maybe China, but their economy is booming now. What will wealth distribution look like during hard economic times as the rest of the world is facing? I think the Scandinavian countries do well in distributing wealth, but high taxes are the norm. Is it governments roll to redistribute wealth or simply to set the rules on how it should be gained and redistributed?

1st Capt. Ron

(Title by Miskito Alan)

The problem: people

Economic systems tend to look better on paper than in practice. The difference is that humans implement them. On paper, "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need" sounds perfect. But the Soviet implementation clearly didn't work.

If we apply capitalist standards then we see any approach that isn't purely capitalist as flawed. The corpratocracy approach (government/business partnerships) is pretty much that everything should be done to maximize corporate profit. When out of control we get things like private prisons in the US where the prison industry lobbies government to get more people tossed in jail.

Until we can get beyond money as the measure of success (e.g., Jacque Fresco's The Venus Project, we will not be able to see real success (meaning better living for more) vs. the bottom line of big companies. Unfortunately, those changes are blocked by those in power until the whole system melts down (a la USSR).

Is Nicaragua better? It depends on your measure. Nicaragua cannot afford to do everything right but here are some areas where it is at least trying:

  • Building roads to improve getting products to market
  • Expanding the electrical grid
  • Working toward drinkable water for all
  • Subsidies for low-consumption gas, electricity and transport done in an efficient manner

Add decent education and health care for what Cuba does.

Back to Jacque Fresco once again, you ask "What will wealth distribution look like during hard economic times as the rest of the world is facing?". Fresco lived through the depression. His observation was that there were not shortages of products -- just shortages of money in the hands of people to buy things. Thus, once again, he Resource Based Economy idea.

I Don't See

..."from each according to his ability, to each according to his need" as being perfect.

That means "each according to his need" sits around smoking crack, in his subsidized housing, eating food purchased with food stamps.

"..Each according to his ability . ." then pulls the freight for both of them. Which is where the US is increasingly going. Where is the motivation to excel in a . . ."from each according to his ability, to each according to his need" society? PLENTY of that attitude still left in Nicaragua, a by-product of the "revolution". I saw it in Lagartillo . . .

How about instead: "You reap what you sow . ."?

You reap what you sow

Well, that's another alternative. I think that should be tried. Unfortunately, that approach is as scarce as "each according to his need". The scarcity is for the same reason: humans.

To take one specific example, about 15 years ago a Walmart was built near Aberdeen Washington. The operative word is near. It was built across the street from the incorporated city. It was clearly a good business decision for Walmart -- at the expense of what was best for Aberdeen.

The result for Walmart was no city taxes. But, being across the street, the city had to invest in roads for all the people who lived in the city and would drive to Walmart. City taxes went up and local businesses folded because of a combination of Walmart's buying power and local business taxes subsidizing roads to get people to Walmart.

This is not an isolated instance. We think of what Walmart did as having good business sense. But it gave them an unfair advantage.

I could come up with so many other examples of how expressions such as "one dollar, one vote" much more closely reflect the system that you see as "you reap what you sow". With any economic system, the key to success is going to be how to get humans out of the control process.

??

  • And do those same roads also serve all the rest of the businesses south of Olympic Highway in the vicinity of (evil) WallyWorld?
  • And do those businesses and WallyWorld collect sales and use taxes (8.53%) on goods sold?
  • Aren't these taxes, in some portion, passed back to the cities and counties?
  • Do the employees of the businesses south of Olympic Highway in the vicinity of (evil) WallyWorld (and WallyWorld) get paid wages?
  • Are those wages subject to WA state taxes?
  • Aren't these taxes, in some portion, passed back to the cities and counties?
  • Do the employees of the businesses south of Olympic Highway in the vicinity of (evil) WallyWorld (and WallyWorld) spend their wages on goods and services in Aberdeen?
  • Are those goods and services subject to WA state taxes?
  • Aren't these taxes, in some portion, passed back to the cities and counties?
  • Do the wages earned by the employees of the businesses south of Olympic Highway in the vicinity of (evil) WallyWorld (and WallyWorld) who spend their wages on goods and services in Aberdeen provide a direct economic stimulus?

Thank you

While we could continue to discuss how big players have different rules (for example, Boeing not paying sales tax on airplanes) I believe you (and JohnS) have proved my point -- that You reap what you sow does not exist. In particular, a tax system -- added overhead -- is put in place to try to manipulate "you reap what you sow". In what direction? It depends on the jurisdiction.

Back to the actual subject, the Chavista revolution is yet one more model with government manipulation is being used to adjust "you reap what you sow" to get what the government feels is a more fair distribution. The baby picture in Nicaragua are the subsidized government stores.

Now, in the free world, Boeing gets a lot more votes than ordinary people. (There is a reason Henry Jackson was called "the Senator from Boeing".) Clearly some governments are more likely to represent Boeing and Walmart in the US and much less likely in Venezuela or Nicaragua. Much like the 1979 victory of the Sandinistas in Nicaragua was a threat of a good example significant enough that the US invested heavily to make sure Sandinismo would fail, the same thing has happened in Venezuela (2002 coup being a perfect example).

I don't have a problem with countries trying an economic system they feel is best. I just have a problem when one country does its best to make sure another country doesn't have the right to self-determination. Or, again, back to the original subject, whether or not the Chavista revolution succeeds should be a function of whether it is what the majority of Venezuelans want, not what the US or China or Russia or ... wants.

same same

The beating of the dead horse(s) continues... Boeing (80,000+ employees in WA), Microsoft (40,000+ employees in WA), et al -- evil greedy corporations to be feared and loathed ...

My admittedly poorly made point was in re: your fallacy that the WallyWorld in Aberdeen was a net "cost" to the city by improving the city's infrastructure. The point is that WallyWorld's net impact is positive -- starting with construction jobs to build the (hated) place, the wages paid, the taxes on same, the further economic activities resulting from same, the taxes paid on products sold, etc.

Looking at (hated) Boeing -- average annual salaries in WA state is around $600 BILLION. That is -- in and of itself -- a huge contribution to the economics of WA. It's also 500x the GDP of Danielandia!

Don't get me started on the US Tax code -- the instructions for the 1040 form amount to over 200 pages! It's tax season and I pay my tax team enough to lift several Nica families from poverty, all to keep some of what I earn from being re-distributed. Of course this makes me an evil person, unwilling to pay my "fair share" to the hordes of people wanting to ride (uninvited) on my ability to make money. Taxes must be paid to the country where I do not work (since 2000) nor live (since 2002) nor visit (since 2011).

Flat tax. Pick a number. ANY NUMBER!! No exemptions no exceptions no set-asides no deferrals no nada. Whether you flip burgers for a dollar a day or write code for 300 a day, you pay the number. Punto.

Nope

re: your fallacy that the WallyWorld in Aberdeen was a net "cost" to the city by improving the city's infrastructure. The point is that WallyWorld's net impact is positive -- starting with construction jobs to build the (hated) place, the wages paid, the taxes on same, the further economic activities resulting from same, the taxes paid on products sold, etc.

Not my point at all. My point was that the economic system as it stands allowed a new player, because of its advantages to destroy local businesses -- the people who thought they could reap what they sewed. As I have not been in Aberdeen (nor the US) since 2002 I don't know what the picture looks like today but when I was there local business was destroyed in the center of the city. It was not just one business but the creation of a new center, much like the creation of a mall in the suburbs. I am not saying it shouldn't be allowed -- simply that this is not a "reap what you sew" system.

As for Boeing, first check your decimal point. According to Wikipedia, Boeing's 2013 revenue US$86.623 billion. I doubt they paid seven times that in salaries. But, numbers aside, Boeing gets tax advantages that an average business does not. In addition, much of Boeing's income comes from tax revenues.

oops x2

Ok, I see the point you were making altho I generally don't see the "advantages" of WallyWorld "destroying" local businesses in the same light. Long ago in a land and time far away, I owned a business that "destroyed" local businesses. My "advantages" included providing better and more responsive service, early adoption of leading edge expensive technology (for quite some time at the expense of my own paycheck and diet), and by working longer and harder than my mom-and-pop competition. Adapt or die...

Second oops -- of course you are correct about Boeing's wages. See why I don't even attempt my own taxes? And Boeing's 10k and income statements are nightmares -- the perfect example of why the tax code should be shot, drawn and quartered, keelhauled, burned and THEN nuked (sorry solsurrfer)! While I understand some of the devices used, and even some of the "logic" behind some of it, the bottom line is that if you have black numbers, pay up.

But Your Argument

neglects to mention that the US was initially supportive of the Sandinista revolution.

It was only after Ortega began running guns to El Salvador that the true nature of his revolution was exposed. Add to that the Cuban component, and later the Russians in the middle of the Cold War, and I don't see any other possible outcome. Ortega had a fork in the road, and he chose left. It made for some great history, but I'm not sure it was the right decision for the Nicaraguan people.

I don't believe the US was jealous of the Sandinista economic model. It was failing, and I don't know any one who touts the macro economic skills of the Sandinistas.

The lefties like to focus on the US support of the already existing contras, a full two years AFTER the revolution. We should be honest in our arguments if we want to reach some measure of truth. We can't just pick and choose our facts.

Had the US not intervened, Nicaragua would probably look more like Cuba today. I don't understand how people can make claims about corporations wielding all the power in the US, and then conveniently ignore the success of all the Cubans and Nicaraguans who fled the repression in their countries and made a prosperous life for themselves here.

And El Salvador now has a president from….

…the party that used to be the guys and gals in the mountains. Ortega NEVER was that far left -- Russia was an ally of convenience. One of the things the FSLN claims and Contras verified is that travel was never restricted during the 1980s here -- a number of FSLN members saw Russia and Cuba and didn't want those restrictions.

Today, while US citizens who are retired military, police, or DHS have to wait longer for residency, they do get it even though I'm sure that Nicaraguan intelligence know that some of the people they're giving residency to are opposed to the current regime.

Vietnam doesn't look like Cuba today -- people are traveling back and forth. They also saw Russian close up and were apparently not interested, either.

Ortega had allies who were further to the left (and, frankly, in dumb ways) than he was. To keep them as allies, he had to give them something, so Jamie Wheeklock got to manage agriculture, which stirring up serious resentment because the guys in the countryside wanted to own their own land (and the government is apparently still fixing that problem).

Agrarian reform that breaks up the big farms and gives land to the landless is more in the manner of General Douglas MacArthur in Japan (the big landowners there supported the Imperial expansions). The FSLN admits it screwed up with state farms and has been granting more traditional titles to land ever since.

Not all the Cubans and Nicaraguans in the US were successful -- and the guy who was murdered here by the expat had been deported from the US for selling pot. More El Salvadorans in that category. Not all Nicaraguans who stayed are unsuccessful.

The US's actions in the region have been malignant, almost as malignant as Southern slavery was in the US. The parts of the country that had slavery as an institution were also divided between the very rich and the enslaved, with not much space for a middle class in between, and some of that still lingers in the areas of the South that had the most cotton and the biggest cotton plantations. Their populations have higher infant mortality rates, lower education rates.

Gorbachev asked Reagan why he was so obscessed with Ortega since Ortega wasn't a Marxist. The biography of Fonseca has a section where the leftist professor went into a rant about how Ortega was never a leftists and always wanted a mixed economy (you don't know any true quill Marxists unless you've run into the rant about partial socialism and how only the pure system will make the right changes -- I'm so not that).

Ortega, from the biography on him, never understood why Reagan was so obsessed with him and thought of himself as Reagan's black pet.

The other side of all this is that the US has never come into a country in the Western Hemisphere and done anything half as useful as what General MacArthur did in Japan, which would be considered wildly left wing radical today. I don't know of a case where the US supported a democratically elected government against a right-wing dictator. The US never told the slavers in Texas that they'd made their bed and would have to lie in it having abandoned the US. My country invaded Mexico and seized land from it when Mexico's polices toward its own indigenous people were better than those of the US, invaded Mexico again in 1914 (Veracruz), apparently for shits and giggles. We still have a base or bases in Honduras.

The US is is still a richer country for all sorts of reasons. One is that they've developed internal markets for the good they produce from their own raw materials, so the economy is more complex. But some of these things are regressing -- the Southern timber sold to China rather than manufactured into furniture regionally as it was, which did create a certain amount of change for the better in High Point. The move to a service industry economy -- again, that's low pay and relatively low skill.

I believe that ability is common (unless you want to believe that Patrick County is uniquely better than most places, which I suspect you don't). Two of us out of 16,000 sold novels and were reviewed in the New York Times. One's a pro ball player. Couple of people have had very successful military regimes (socialized jobs, of course), and at least one high school student from there went to Harvard. I believe that there are more good people than good opportunities in the US economy for them. And the lower paid jobs are what drive the economy and pay the salaries of everyone else. We're more and more seeing a belief that those people don't matter, that the only people who matter are the ones making money off them, which historically goes with more and more exploitation of them, which is justified because all those people ever did was work at the physical repetitive jobs.

I think the best development for Nicaragua would be to make sure nobody starves, nobody has to worry about their children not being educated, and nobody has to borrow to cover basic medicine, and that the roads are decent and the mail reliable (it's been so for me, not for everyone). How that's done is irrelevant, but we've seen enough from the practices of private for profit universities in the US to know that if people want to make money off education, they cut at the faculty level, even if this means that the drop out level is a third higher. The kids will still have to pay back the loan for the first year. The on-line for profits have an even more appalling records.

On the other hand, capitalism works fine for cameras, consumer goods, and furniture. (It's very dangerous with militaries).

Around 100,000 Nicaraguans died between the mid 1970s and the end of the Contra War. Don't expect Nicaraguans to thank us for this when only 2,000 died in the 1948 civil war in Costa Rica.

The US doesn't have a single example of coming in militarily and making things better here -- the Costa Ricans solved their military's love of meddling in politics by dissolving their military (and the police sort of took over those functions, but hey) and put the money in education and affordable health care. The US tried to persuade Costa Rica to give up its health care system some time in the 1970s or so, but the Costa Ricans refused (politely, I suppose, to keep from being invaded).

Cubans didn't rise up to welcome back the friends of Batista when the US invaded.

The US public seems to have been supportive of the Sandinista revolution early and late (Congress cut off funding for Reagan's military adventures. so he went into criminal channels to fund the Contras).

Rebecca Brown

Not really

The US was never supportive of the Sandinista revolution. Never. The Carter administration proposed "Somocismo without Somosa" to the FSLN. They turned him down. As I remember there was some token bribe ($100 million?) that was given to the revolutionary government.

The fact that the revolutionary government decided to honor the debts of the Somoza Dynasty was a good indication that the FSLN wanted be a responsible international player.

Yes, it is likely that Ortega supported the FMLN over the Priest Killers in El Salvador. Makes sense to me. But, in any case, it is not clear why that should have been an issue. There seemed to be little concern, for example, of Costa Rica's support of the Sandinistas.

Had the US not tried to control Nicaragua it seems very unlikely that Ortega would have consolidated power as he did. It took a common enemy for that to happen. Without that pressure, it is likely that the FSLN would have broken into three parties and added to the total mix of parties.

The FSLN leadership knew nothing of macroeconomics. They knew about revolution. Clearly, they could have used a Rafael Correa equivalent. Unfortunately, rather than helping the US forced them squarely into the USSR camp. That said, the FSLN was trying things and learning.

Yes, the ex-National Guard folks were not happy but that is no surprise. If what the US did for this group who had lost their position was OK, why was Nicaragua helping the FMLN bad? Maybe Mexico and the countries of Central America should set up training bases and supply arms to US illegal immigrants because they feel the current US government is not respecting their rights.

Had the US not intervened, Nicaragua would probably look more like Cuba today.

I find this really interesting. It depends on what "not intervened" means.

If non-intervention means "an international free market", Nicaragua would have fared particularly well. With armed conflict in other nations in the region and lots of agricultural land, it could have done fine.

On the other hand if non-intervention meant a US embargo but no military aid to anti-government forces, Nicaragua probably would have done as well as Cuba. Clearly Cuba is not perfect but it has done pretty well considering it has been under an embargo from the US for over 50 years. Just think how well Cuba would have done without the embargo.

Yes to this

"The fact that the revolutionary government decided to honor the debts of the Somoza Dynasty was a good indication that the FSLN wanted be a responsible international player."

The US appears to have repudiated all Crown debts in 1776.

Cuba is willing to let more people leave Cuba than the US is willing to take in, which is also an interesting fact.

Rebecca Brown

and more...

...revisionist history!

I really don't know if you truly believe the FSLN "forced them squarely into the USSR camp" meme or you are just having a go with us.

It certainly isn't true. Maybe the KGB disinformation campaigns described by Vassiliev and in the Mitrokhin archives were particularly effective in the Pacific Northwest ?

The facts are diametrically opposed to your meme. From the very beginnings of the F$LN, they were provided support, education and ideology from Moscow, often directly, usually via the puppets in Cuba. This was YEARS before the revolution.

Some inconvenient facts from year one of the robolucion:

  • The first planes (30+) into Managua after the fall carried Cuban "advisers", USSR advisers, East German "advisers"
  • The Cuban "model" (for misery) was immediately implemented; the hated CDCs were operating in August 1979 in Managua's barrios organized and supervised by Lenin Cerna (hard-core commie) at MINT. His training came directly from the Stasi whose "advisers" were in the first elements airlifted from Havana (one of them did well enough to partake in the pinata and open a B&B in SJdS). Cerdo's boss was Tomas Borge (hard-core commie) [may you rot in hell you evil fucking dwarf] whose military training was provided in both Cuba and the USSR. He always thought Cerdo wasn't going far enough in repression tactics
  • Verbal dissent meant you were a "counterrevolutionary" and subject to arrest / torture / re-education camps death -- all modeled on USSR / Cuban / East German methods
  • One of Wheelock's first acts of confiscation occurred in Jinotepe in September 1979. The land was clear-cut and the valuable hardwoods given to "our fraternal socialist brothers" -- in Bulgaria
  • Nicaragua immediately became a member of Non-Aligned Nation whose president in 1979 was none other than Fidel Castro. Other notable "non-aligned" countries in 1979: Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia.

Bottom line? The F$LN was trained, equipped, backed, educated by and through the USSR and Cuba. From their first hours in power, the F$LN flew in "advisers" from throughout the Communist bloc and began enthusiastically implementing the policies, programs and tactics of those Communist sponsors.

To claim the evil imperialists pushed the F$LN into the arms of the commies is just devoid of any groundings in reality.

The fact that the revolutionary government decided to honor the debts of the Somoza Dynasty was a good indication that the FSLN wanted be a responsible international player.

Huh? Are you that gullible?? Straight out of Fidel's playbook: "The revolution will honor the debts of the government of Cuba. We respect private property. We value freedom of expression."

A week later he was in Moscow pledging his allegiance to Khrushchev and all things commie.

Re corporations

If you ask the average American 2 questions:
--1) Do corporations pay enough taxes the answer would be NO!
--2) Is it right to have double taxation of business profits the answer would be NO!
Shows the true story of how well Americans can think.

Thank You - Yes US taxpayers do not

reap what they sow! The US has a middle class which reaps instead of sows to prove that. Nicaragua does not tax the high income & single people like me to take care of the middle class "reapers" and thus only has very rich & very poor.
Due to the US handout highway life is good for both the "reapers" & the "sowers" who hire the reapers to work for him and make them a rich sowers.

Walmart also relies on having a government that….

….that makes up the difference between what it pays employees and what they need to make their expenses. Might as well have the government own it and have the profits go to some thing useful rather than funding art and drinking binges among the Walton heirs.

For everyone who says, "Get a second job," Walmart also makes that impossible or very difficult by changing worker's schedules at very short notice. And miss your shift more than a couple of times, you're fired (a FB friend has been reporting from the field).

Rebecca Brown

Another misconception

Submitted by oncidiumfan - ...a government that makes up the difference between what it pays employees and what they need to make their expenses.
The government does not pay - The taxpayers pay and since the rich pay most of the income taxes that fund this at least they are forced to pick up this cost.
Many of the Walmart employees I have seen are obviously lucky to have a job and Walmart offers them this opportunity. No one forces a person to work at Walmart - Most are not willing to improve their skills to qualify for a better job. There are surely some that can't so at least they have a job.
The problematic result of Walmart stores is that they destroy all the local mom & pop folks who have spent their life building their businesses.

fair?

The government does not pay - The taxpayers pay and since the rich pay most of the income taxes that fund this at least they are forced to pick up this cost.

And the "rich"** generally don't shop at WallyWorld! How is that fair??

**Defined by Owebummer and the looters as US$250k/annum

Won't mention

the socialized taxpayer supported educational system that educates the families' kids for little cost to the family. Same reason that this is fair - If families had to pay their kids would lose and the country would lose as well.

I have no problem with some things being socialized….

….and some things being not. Education, basic health care, basic transportation infrastructure, common mail system, and reasonable defense benefits all of us. Some things don't need to be supported by taxpayer money.

Social democracy isn't cool and revolutionary and social democrats don't wear snazzy uniforms or berets, but over the long haul, mixed economies seem to do well, with enough of a safety net that nobody has to worry about starvation or their kids not getting educated or half of them dying before five.

Rebecca Brown

Fair is

defined in the eyes of the beholder.
The US income tax systm is an example:
A single person pays his taxes for his 1 benefit received. Does a family of 5 reporting the same income pay 5 times as much because they receive 5 benefits? The answer is NO - They pay 1/2 the single person's taxes.
A single person pays $1 for his benefits but each family member pays 10 cents. They all believe this is "fair".
Is this really fair - YES if families had to pay their own way they would have to live under a bridge.
Of course FOX news and ‎Bill O'Reilly tell their family airhead Tea party listeners that Obama is picking on them and stealing their money. They whine about their peanut taxes he steals yet single folks grin & bear it.
Ain't no such thing as fair.

I assumed they pay at least the minimum legal wage?

as do many many other businesses...so why pick on Walmart?

If its true that government picks up the difference between what it pays employees and what they need to make their expenses....then it does for others paying legal minimum wage...so why pick on Walmart?

The Cop,Safeway do the same thing with the shifts,...so why pick on Walmart.

Because it has exported its model?

I was not specifically picking on Walmart -- I was offering it as an example of the difference between "reap what you sew" and how things really work. They just happen to

  • Be better at it than most other big corporations
  • Be bigger (as a result) than other corporations
  • Have exported their approach to Nicaragua

On that last point I expect the plan is less successful so far because the government has less to help Walmart and such programs as cheaper electricity, transport and gas for small users is automatic rather than requiring government intervention.

give them time...

After they take down WalMart, they'll go after others.

Why? Tough question with no clearly defined answers. Envy, jealousy, the looter mentality and self-loathing certainly play a role. Lack of education in basic economics -- mucho palaver about a company that nets less than 4%. Heck, maybe even mental disabilities -- last time I checked no one was forced at gunpoint to either work, or shop, at WallyWorld.

But, really, it's all about "equality" -- when we're all miserable in our subsistence lifestyles, we can sit around the campfire singing Kumbaya.

(and how any of this relates to the forum topic escapes me other than $ucialismo XXI is a shining example of the lunacy of the hate-WallyWorld gang)

The friend who is working for Walmart has a college education

He's reporting from the trenches. I've been better paid in companies that net less (publishing, which has the second lowest net of categories, only grocery stores net less according to a presentation I typed for one of my bosses in publishing).

One good thing about Walmart is his management are all bull dykes with mullets (he's gay), so they're an employer of last resort of a lot of people who are too weird or too old to be hired by other people, and who will put up with it because the alternative might be worse.

He studied language, by the way, Arabic and French.

Rebecca Brown

John Kerry Doubles Down on Venezuela, Despite Being Alone

A new article in Truth-Out offers an on the ground look at Caracas.

Images forge reality, granting a power to television and video and even still photographs that can burrow deep into people’s consciousness without them even knowing it. I thought that I, too, was immune to the repetitious portrayals of Venezuela as a failed state in the throes of a popular rebellion. But I wasn’t prepared for what I saw in Caracas this month: how little of daily life appeared to be affected by the protests, the normality that prevailed in the vast majority of the city. I, too, had been taken in by media imagery.

One theory

In contrast to popular opinion, Venezuela is a democracy with open and fair elections. Bailing out an elected president with popular support might set a bad example.

But Why Should

Venezuela need bailing out? Their oil wealth is enormous. What happened, and continues to happen with their economy? Enquiring minds want to know.

As in Nicaragua, something's not right (although Nicaragua's economy is cooking now that the Marxist trappings have fallen away).

Could it be that communism and socialism allow everyone (except for a ruling elite) to share the poverty equally, and eliminate any incentive to excel? Equal opportunity for everyone -such as it is: Food stamps and extended unemployment benefits instead of a vibrant economy with a good job and a future.

Why is it a good part of the world continues to vote with their feet? No One is riding on top of trains, trekking across deserts, rafting the Gulf Stream,, into Venezuela, Cuba, .

You would think a socialist paradise like Venezuela would be flooded with migrants looking for a better life.

The airlines and the oil service companies that Madurro refuses to pay: They understand that they will be welcomed back in as soon as the government changes -as it must if the country is to prosper.

Free and Fair election in Venezuela? It depends on who you talk to. Jimmy Carter? PLEEEZE !!

Do you believe that the elections in Nicaragua are free and fair?

OK, facts please

Free and Fair election in Venezuela? It depends on who you talk to. Jimmy Carter? PLEEEZE !!

From what I know (which is a lot) the system in Venezuela would make a good model for the US. That is, the technical implementation is about as close to flawless as I could envision one. Quite different from the corrupt patchwork system in the US. If you know of any flaws, speak up.

I don't remember the specifics of candidate access to the media but when I did read about it it sounded a lot cleaner than in the US. That is, fair access like exists in Nicaragua exists. If that is where the issue is, please explain.

If you apply the one dollar, one vote criteria (in other words, "capitalist elections") Venezuela fails but one person, one vote seems to work there.

More Venezuela

and from MSN . . the worm is truly turning:

http://news.msn.com/in-depth/venezuelan-student-protesters-seek-to-woo-p...

" . . .Katherin Castillo, a 35-year-old single mother of five, and her neighbors are exhausted by the roulette that food shopping has become, of spending hours in queues outside state-run supermarkets in hopes that flour, milk, cooking oil will show up at subsidized prices.

On this morning, chicken is all Castillo has on offer at the storefront canteen where she serves cheap breakfasts.

"I would go out and protest. But I'm afraid," Castillo says after the students leave. "The colectivos are abusing their power, and a mother can't take risks."

" . . .Some people the students meet say they, too, are fed up enough with worsening food shortages, crippling inflation and unchecked violent crime — the very maladies that precipitated the unrest — and would take to the streets, too, but for their fear of pistol-packing pro-government posses known as "colectivos" that have violently suppressed dissent. The colectivos have been implicated in at least six protest-related killings, only one in metropolitan Caracas."

au contraire

The ChiComms have loaned the government (sic) of Venezuela close to $50 billion with oil as the method of payment. Venezuela has difficulties keeping current -- production problems which are undoubtedly due to the fascists and imperialists, not due to expropriations,brain drain, incompetence, etc.

After Panama closes the canal, maybe Venezuela can get China to accept government bonds?

China isn`t bulletproof

they are a big stable dictatorship, but a recent BBC program had some interesting input on their economy. Their boom has been built on internal credit and they have a bubble bigger than the US banking crisis coming up.

``Socialism works fine until you run out of other peoples` money``

Margaret Thatcher

Saw a show (can't remember

Saw a show (can't remember the reference) about the Chinese real-estate market. They postulated that China will be the next real-estate bubble to burst, because lots construction that is empty and just built on speculation. Who will finish the canal then?