It’s always amazing to me how all the Bernie Bros whine and complain about the rich in America and how there’s this gigantic income inequality gap and if the rich just paid their “fair share” of taxes, we’d all be equal and happy and taken care of and no one would be poor.
Obviously, these would-be socialists don’t know a whole lot about Venezuela. Which is just about in flames because the poor among them are tired of being poor. Bear in mind, when we talk about the poor in Venezuela, we’re talking about people who can’t even afford basic necessities. Food, clothing, toilet paper, diapers – all of these things have been mismanaged by the socialist government and the people simply have to go without (either that, or hunt wild vermin in the streets for their supper). People have reportedly resorted to killing their children, rather than watch them starve to death. And the government forces starving people to work out in the fields in order to combat the food shortages that the government caused in the first place!
Riots have been going on in Venezuela for months, though you wouldn’t know it since the media is reluctant to paint the country as anything but a lovely little socialist utopia where everything from food to health care is FREEEEE and nobody has any problems at all (and if there are problems in Venezuela, blame Trump! Because that makes TOTAL sense.)
But on the other side of the Venezuelan income inequality spectrum, there is a vastly different story being told. Because, yes, even in socialist utopia Venezuela the insanely rich exist. And they not only exist, they thrive on the backs of the people that they’ve pushed into the depths of the lowest poverty imaginable.
According to this, there is a new chain of nightclubs that cater to the insane-super-rich in Venezuela called the Buddha Bar. Only the very wealthy government officials can afford to go there, and they often do (because dealing with the disgruntled poor constantly rioting in the streets is such a drag and these guys need a break once in a while, you know) –
The country may be stricken by poverty and political violence, but a rich minority acts like they are untouched by the crisis.
Case in point: Caracas, one of the world’s most violent cities, is the first in South America to open a branch of the trendy Buddha Bar international nightclub chain.
In a country where basics such as flour and sugar are in short supply, Buddha Bar guests can order tuna steak, pork ribs or fish tacos — as long as they have dollars to pay.
“You can have as good a time here in Caracas as in New York, Dubai or Saint Petersburg,” says one of its owners, Cristhian Estephan.
Eight pieces of salmon and shrimp sushi here cost 55,700 bolivars, or the equivalent of more than a quarter of the country’s official monthly minimum wage.
The article also explains that many of these wealthy people earned their money by earning favor from Hugo Chavez’s government. So, it’s not like they actually worked for their millions or built businesses and found success. Nope. They kissed up to those in power and were rewarded handsomely –
New money talks in a country where Maduro is striving to continue Chavez’s “revolution.”
Venezuela’s economy logged strong growth before prices for its crucial oil exports started a downward spiral in mid-2014.
“Wealth in Venezuela is generated by state revenues that depend on the oil sector,” says Colette Capriles, a sociologist at Simon Bolivar University.
“The state redistributes that revenue. The Chavez government used it with preference for those who needed it most,” with social welfare spending, she says.
But it also offered an opportunity for those close to power to line their pockets.
“This form of socialism has produced some very powerful millionaires,” says Capriles.
“Most of them are government officials or people close to them — and currently they are one of the main things holding up the government.”
So much for “no more poor,” right?
Hate to break it to all your Bernie Bros, but these are the guys that your sweet little Grandpa Bernie would be rubbing shoulders with, should America ever descend to the level of socialism. The three houses he currently owns would look like pocket change compared to what he’d amass after socialism was implemented.
But you? At best, you’d still be eating ramen noodles (actually – ramen noodles would probably be a feast for the average Venezuelan citizen right now). At worst, you’d barely be able to scrape together enough money for a square of toilet paper.
So, keep pushing for socialism to come here and keep complaining about those EEEEEEEEVIL rich business owners who benefited from capitalism and who you think need to be taxed into oblivion so you can get a cut of what you never earned. Chances are, you’re going to be even worse off under socialism. But the difference will be that the government will stomp down on any protest or complaints you may have, ’cause they’re not going to give up the wealth OR power that you gave up to them.
Take Venezuela as a cautionary tale.