Desperate for money and exposing the naked force of government, the socialist regime of Hugo Chavez is seizing the assets of foreign oil companies operating in Venezuela. At the same time, Chavez is implicitly acknowledging that socialism doesn’t work because he’s simultaneously soliciting bids from private oil companies in the West for new oil projects, no doubt hoping that the bidders ignore what he is doing to current operators.
Big government operates as a giant parasite on the body politic. Its aim is to suck as much lifeblood out of its victim as it can, but without killing him. The parasite knows that if it kills the host, the parasite itself will die.
That was one reason that the Framers limited the powers of the federal government and why our ancestors lived without income taxation and without a welfare state for more than 125 years. They knew that the propensity of government is to grow and grow and grow, while incessantly trying to satisfy its insatiable thirst for more and more and more money.
The challenge for those in the parasitic sector in a democracy is to come up with ways to convince the citizenry that the parasite is necessary and essential to their safety and well-being. In that case, the citizenry are more apt to support the parasite’s attachment to the body politic.
That’s where emergencies and crises come into play. What better opportunity to convince people to participate in the seizure of their own property than when they’re frightened like little children in the midst of an emergency or crisis, including those that are caused by the parasite itself?
Are Chavez’s seizures any different in principle from what the federal parasitic sector does here in the United States? What’s the difference between seizing oil company assets and imposing an “excess profits tax” on the money that oil companies earn? Don’t they both constitute the legalized stealing of things that belong to someone else?
And look at President Obama’s (and President Bush’s) out-of-control federal spending. We all know that someone is going to get looted as a consequence of all that borrowing, spending, and inflating that he and the Federal Reserve are engaging in to finance the voracious needs of the parasite. Most likely, the victims will be the people in the middle class.
One thing is for sure: when prices start to soar because of the Fed’s inflationary policies, Obama and his crew will mimic Chavez and his cohorts as they place the blame on speculators, big oil, OPEC, the rich, the terrorists, the greedy, entrepreneurs, free enterprise, capitalists, and businessmen.
When it comes to financing the needs of the parasite, don’t expect those in the parasitic sector to have any sympathy for people whose income or savings have dropped. The ever-growing needs of the parasite must be met, and don’t expect any reductions in the size of the parasite. People in the private sector — i.e., the host — will simply be expected to reduce their savings and consumption in order to maintain the ever-increasing needs of those in the public sector — i.e., the parasitic sector.
In other words, the needs of the parasite come first. Those of the host come second.
What happens if borrowing, taxes, and inflation fail to satisfy the voracious needs of the parasite? Then it will resort to the same measures that Chavez is resorting to: direct seizures of assets.
What are the likely candidates for direct seizure by the U.S. parasite? I can think of five:
1. Oil companies, through excess profits taxes.
2. Rich people, through raising their tax rates.
3. The middle class, through inflationary debasement of the currency.
4. Retirement accounts, including 401(k)s and IRAs, which are sitting like ripe plums for the taking.
5. Gold, which U.S. officials nationalized in the 1930s, just as Chavez is nationalizing oil operations today.
Frederic Bastiat pointed out, “The state is that great fiction by which everyone tries to live at the expense of everyone else.” A corollary principle is: The state is the great parasite that sucks the lifeblood out of a society, oftentimes with the support of the citizens themselves.