US President Obama is growing more unpopular with everyone except government employees and the very young and senile. The collapse of the private sector in the US has left the president with few options other than to crank up the debt, and to blame Bush. Mr. Obama has tried to discipline the private sector, to make it behave more appropriately, but nothing he has tried has been effective.
But Mr. Obama has friends in other governments, who appear to be very successful in taming the misbehaving bourgeoisie. Besides the example of Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez has made incredible strides in beating down a disloyal private sector:
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said he’s declaring an “economic war” against the “bourgeoisie” after business chambers criticized his handling of the economy and the performance of nationalized companies.
Chavez threatened to nationalize the country’s largest food maker, Empresas Polar SA, saying that the company isn’t “indispensable.” Chavez said Polar is manipulating workers into attacking his policies and he challenged company President Lorenzo Mendoza to see who will last longer. Mendoza, Chavez said, won’t get into heaven because he’s wealthy.
“You’ve declared an economic war against me, so I accept your challenge, stateless bourgeoisie,” Chavez said today during a visit to a state-run vegetable oil company. “I’m declaring an economic war with the help of the people and workers. War is war, my friend. Don’t complain to me later.”
Chavez has nationalized companies in the oil, food, cement and metals industries as part of his push for socialism and he blames the private sector for accelerating inflation and a recession that is forecast to continue into 2011. Chavez has threatened to nationalize Polar to boost state control over the production and distribution of food, and the government seized one of the company’s rice plants for three months last year.
The drive to construct a socialist economy has left the country facing international arbitration cases with Exxon Mobil Corp., ConocoPhillips and Mexican cement maker Cemex SAB. _businessweek
Yes, such behaviour is hard on an economy, but it makes a leader feel very strong and powerful. Such a boost of power is precisely what Mr. Obama needs right now. Obama's hold is weakening over economic sectors previously held in total thrall. Even the Obama-subservient news media has begun to risk muted criticism over inconsequential topics.
Perhaps Obama should nationalise the news media next?