In “Venezuela Wants to Spread the Suffering” Megan McArdle describes how Chavez and Maduro diverted the country’s oil wealth into social spending. As debt increased, the currency fell and runaway inflation ensued. The next step was price controls…and before you could say “Milton Friedman,” ordinary Venezuelans found they couldn’t buy toilet paper or flour without standing in line. Read the whole thing at

That’s a great “bottom-up” analysis. But I can’t help wondering if there’s a complementary “top-down” explanation as well. Start with Stalin’s terror famine in the Ukraine from 1932-33. Talk about a man-caused disaster. The Soviets confiscated the Ukrainians’ food in order to destroy the kulaks’ small family farms and force the population into party-controlled collectives. Death estimates range from 7 to 14.5 million.

Then there’s North Korea, Cuba, and Venezuela. Without functioning markets for food and clothing, people come to depend on the government–and their access to government bureaucrats–for everything.

Now I’m wondering if Seattle will soon join the list of authoritarian regimes. We have one party rule: 85% percent routinely vote for the LPCS (liberal-progressive-commie-socialist) candidate. And our late mayor adopted a policy of “getting people out of their cars,” by redesigning our roads to accommodate the relatively few buses and bicycles at the expense of cars. Now we have bottlenecks and traffic congestion where traffic used to flow.

I described Seattle as a left-wing laboratory in a previous post. I understand that similar traffic terrorist tactics are in place in LPCS cities around the country–Cheeky Warren’s claims about roads, notwithstanding. It’s clearly a conspiracy. But Seattle is the only American city with a statue of Lenin. And that really gives me the creeps.

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