Socialism and corruption: Joined at the hip in south Florida

Bernie Sanders has said the American dream is more likely to be realized in socialist Venezuela than the United States.

Maybe he'd like to explain this version of the American dream found in a massive money-laundering operation by Venezuelan Chavistas who've been busted for looting their country in order to retire in mansions and condos on Miami Beach.

According to the Miami Herald:

The business elites are suspected of paying hefty bribes to the government officials in exchange for making loans in bolivars to the national oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., and then receiving repayments in dollars — with the proceeds washed through the government's favorable currency-exchange system to magnify profits. The multibillion-dollar payouts were then diverted to secret Swiss bank accounts between 2012 and 2014, according to U.S. authorities.

"The operation, carried out thanks to acts of corruption, would have allowed the embezzlement of more than $4.5 billion, laundered mainly through accounts opened in Switzerland," the Swiss Federal Tribunal wrote in a January order rejecting appeals seeking to stop the release of the bank records.

The hellhole poverty, loss of freedom, and flight of millions are often brought up as the inevitable side-effects of modern socialism (as if firing squads, gulags, and expropriation were too much), but here's a fourth thing: corruption.  Massive, massive, corruption, corruption that would make an African dictator like Sese Seko Mobutu blush.  We saw it as the mask fell off the Soviet Union and among the princelings of China's elites.  Socialism = corruption.

Now we've got it in Venezuela, where a gargantuan money-laundering corruption case has finally given Miami investigators the Swiss bank records they have sought for years.  According to the Miami Herald:

The Justice Department's $4.5 billion money-laundering investigation is the largest of three distinct Miami-based probes targeting Venezuelan "kleptocrats" and their associates, resulting in the prosecution of a dozen defendants in South Florida so far — including a former national treasurer, Alejandro Andrade, who was the first to plead guilty in late 2017. The probes, which prosecutors say form a triangle of corruption connecting Venezuela to Switzerland to South Florida, dramatize the alleged theft of stratospheric sums of government funds in the oil-rich South American country. The high-level political corruption has spurred Venezuela's economic collapse and the exodus of millions of its citizens.

In short, a passel of socialist men of the people using their public office to get immensely rich.  Where have we seen that dynamic before?

And because under socialism, all of the money and power are concentrated in the hands of the state, well, the sums are huge, gargantuan.  As bank robber Willy Sutton once said, "That's where the money is." 

Here's the other thing: socialism doesn't have the same safeguards to  prevent looting of government sums as is seen in the publicly traded private sector.  With the government having all the money and making all the decisions, a party elite must be launched.  Those characters rapidly become a nomenklatura, pigs at the trough more equal than others.  It happens every time socialism is enacted, and there is no socialism without them.  With nothing to check them, they get greedy fast and have the privileges to siphon billions through loopholes and exceptions in law, because socialists are the law.

Lastly, socialism sucks the life out of the entire economy, leaving the only game in town figuring out ways of swindling the government — in these people's cases, in order to retire on Miami Beach.  It was the same with the old Soviets and the late-stage Chinese oligarchs, and now it's going on in real time from socialist Venezuela.

Bernie Sanders ought to be answering for this kind of failure of socialism he'd impose on America, but he doesn't even get asked.

Is there a Democrat out there who can explain why this happens in real terms or, more important, explain why it could never occur under the Democrats' version of socialism?  Nope, not a chance.  Why is that?  Because on their lower free-market economy scale, they are engaged in the same behavior themselves.  They too get rich in public office, and they set aside privileges for themselves, such as jet travel and multiple houses they condemn in others.

One can only hope that Republicans bring this up in coming debates for Sanders, the presumptive Democratic nominee, because corruption's a big one whenever socialism's around. 

Image credit: Newsonline via FlickrCC BY-SA 2.0.

Bernie Sanders has said the American dream is more likely to be realized in socialist Venezuela than the United States.

Maybe he'd like to explain this version of the American dream found in a massive money-laundering operation by Venezuelan Chavistas who've been busted for looting their country in order to retire in mansions and condos on Miami Beach.

According to the Miami Herald:

The business elites are suspected of paying hefty bribes to the government officials in exchange for making loans in bolivars to the national oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., and then receiving repayments in dollars — with the proceeds washed through the government's favorable currency-exchange system to magnify profits. The multibillion-dollar payouts were then diverted to secret Swiss bank accounts between 2012 and 2014, according to U.S. authorities.

"The operation, carried out thanks to acts of corruption, would have allowed the embezzlement of more than $4.5 billion, laundered mainly through accounts opened in Switzerland," the Swiss Federal Tribunal wrote in a January order rejecting appeals seeking to stop the release of the bank records.

The hellhole poverty, loss of freedom, and flight of millions are often brought up as the inevitable side-effects of modern socialism (as if firing squads, gulags, and expropriation were too much), but here's a fourth thing: corruption.  Massive, massive, corruption, corruption that would make an African dictator like Sese Seko Mobutu blush.  We saw it as the mask fell off the Soviet Union and among the princelings of China's elites.  Socialism = corruption.

Now we've got it in Venezuela, where a gargantuan money-laundering corruption case has finally given Miami investigators the Swiss bank records they have sought for years.  According to the Miami Herald:

The Justice Department's $4.5 billion money-laundering investigation is the largest of three distinct Miami-based probes targeting Venezuelan "kleptocrats" and their associates, resulting in the prosecution of a dozen defendants in South Florida so far — including a former national treasurer, Alejandro Andrade, who was the first to plead guilty in late 2017. The probes, which prosecutors say form a triangle of corruption connecting Venezuela to Switzerland to South Florida, dramatize the alleged theft of stratospheric sums of government funds in the oil-rich South American country. The high-level political corruption has spurred Venezuela's economic collapse and the exodus of millions of its citizens.

In short, a passel of socialist men of the people using their public office to get immensely rich.  Where have we seen that dynamic before?

And because under socialism, all of the money and power are concentrated in the hands of the state, well, the sums are huge, gargantuan.  As bank robber Willy Sutton once said, "That's where the money is." 

Here's the other thing: socialism doesn't have the same safeguards to  prevent looting of government sums as is seen in the publicly traded private sector.  With the government having all the money and making all the decisions, a party elite must be launched.  Those characters rapidly become a nomenklatura, pigs at the trough more equal than others.  It happens every time socialism is enacted, and there is no socialism without them.  With nothing to check them, they get greedy fast and have the privileges to siphon billions through loopholes and exceptions in law, because socialists are the law.

Lastly, socialism sucks the life out of the entire economy, leaving the only game in town figuring out ways of swindling the government — in these people's cases, in order to retire on Miami Beach.  It was the same with the old Soviets and the late-stage Chinese oligarchs, and now it's going on in real time from socialist Venezuela.

Bernie Sanders ought to be answering for this kind of failure of socialism he'd impose on America, but he doesn't even get asked.

Is there a Democrat out there who can explain why this happens in real terms or, more important, explain why it could never occur under the Democrats' version of socialism?  Nope, not a chance.  Why is that?  Because on their lower free-market economy scale, they are engaged in the same behavior themselves.  They too get rich in public office, and they set aside privileges for themselves, such as jet travel and multiple houses they condemn in others.

One can only hope that Republicans bring this up in coming debates for Sanders, the presumptive Democratic nominee, because corruption's a big one whenever socialism's around. 

Image credit: Newsonline via FlickrCC BY-SA 2.0.