BEN WEINGARTEN

Reader. Writer. Thinker. Commentator. Truth Seeker.

Tag: Venezuela

IMG_1182

Where Democracy Really Does Die in Darkness

In the Trump era, members of the mainstream media have fashioned themselves as tribunes of the people and arbiters of truth. “Democracy dies in darkness,” warns the Washington Post; the New York Times intones, “Truth. It’s more important than ever.”

With the election of a Republican president, the media have rediscovered constitutional government. Suddenly, executive power must be constrained again. Checks and balances are all the rage. Federalism and states’ rights are no longer racist “dog whistles,” but essential antidotes to a domineering central government.

And yet, while the media clang their alarms about how Donald Trump is supposedly turning America into a fascist dictatorship, they largely neglect the fact that democracy really is dying in other parts of the world. I explore this phenomenon, and the dire consequences the media has been tellingly blacking out from Turkey, to Hong Kong and Venezuela in a new piece at City Journal.

You can also listen to me discuss this topic at length during a radio interview with WNTK New Hampshire’s Keith Hanson here below:

Screen Shot 2016-04-15 at 4.46.37 PM

‘Dancing on Graves:’ Talking Barack Obama’s Disastrous Legacy on Dennis Michael Lynch’s DML Unfiltered

ADN-ZB
Deutschland
In der Geldauflieferungsstelle der Reichsbank in Berlin.
(Aufnahme: Oktober 1923)
6823

Venezuela Isn’t Cooking The Books Under Mass Inflation. It’s Lighting Them On Fire.

America’s government has gradually watered down its economic data over time, thereby painting a rosier picture of conditions on the ground than actually exists. Consulting economist John Williams has dedicated his life in fact to exposing its manipulation of economic data and backing into the real numbers.

But you will know when America has really hit full on panic mode when the feds stop printing figures altogether, and the only way to measure price inflation is through tracking the daily price increase of say, cronuts, or some other confection.

This is the position sadly but all-too-predictably in which Venezuela finds itself today. Writes the Wall Street Journal:

On monthly trips to his native Venezuela, Miguel Octavio heads to the same restaurant for the cornmeal cakes he enjoyed as a boy known as arepas, which are a staple here. The price, however, is never the same.

Over nine months, the Miami-based financial analyst and blogger has recorded a fourfold increase in what he calls his Hyperinflated Arepa Index, a yardstick he created to trace soaring consumer prices in this economically crippled country.

President Nicolás Maduro’s government stopped publishing monthly inflation data last December when the level hit 68% annually, the world’s highest. With the Venezuelan economy worsening and the ruling party facing tough congressional elections this December, the central bank hasn’t reported inflation, balance-of-payments or gross-domestic-product figures all year.

That has prompted economists and analysts like Mr. Octavio to compile their own indicators, basing calculations on everything from anecdotal evidence to federal tax revenue to banking-sector loans.

We know that central planning fails, but in Venezuela the not-so-benevolent dictators must have done so on an epic scale if they are no longer cooking the books but rather lighting them on fire.

Why has Venezuela’s economic decline been so sharp?

Read More

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén