Flailing Biden goes 'Hugo Chavez' with free heating oil handouts just as midterms approach

Remember how Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez used to hand out cheap or free heating oil to U.S. NGOs, including Joe "Dial 1-877-Joe-4-Oil" Kennedy, in a meddling bid to win hearts and minds in the states?

Looks like Joe Biden's found another guy to plagiarize.

According to CNN:

The Biden administration is distributing $4.5 billion in federal assistance to help lower many Americans’ heating bills this winter as they brace for another season of sky-high energy costs.

The funds for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, known as LIHEAP, stem from regular appropriations by Congress, additional emergency funding lawmakers included in September’s continuing resolution and $100 million from the bipartisan infrastructure law that passed last year, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

LIHEAP funds are distributed to states, territories and tribes, which use the money to help people pay their home heating and cooling costs, settle arrears and make home energy repairs to lower their utility bills in the future.

More than 5.3 million households were served this past year, according to the agency.

However, more funds are needed, advocates said. The cost of home energy this winter is at the highest level in more than 15 years, said Mark Wolfe, executive director of the National Energy Assistance Directors Association.

Yes, it's just what Hugo used to do. According to the far-left Chavista propaganda outlet Venezuelanalysis, whose headline is "Santa Claus, make way for Santa Chavez":

Poor residents and nonprofit groups in the South Bronx are about to receive a huge Christmas gift from Venezuela's firebrand President Hugo Chavez: Eight-million gallons of heating oil at bargain-basement prices.
Two months ago, in an interview with the Daily News during his visit to the United Nations, Chavez first made the startling offer of cheap fuel for this winter from his oil-rich country to a handful of poor communities in the United States.
At the time, critics of the radical populist Chavez, the Bush administration's biggest nemesis in South America, scoffed at his proposal.
But the Venezuelan leader is about to deliver.
"The first shipments of low-cost fuel from CITGO will begin arriving in my district by late next week," U.S. Rep. Jose Serrano (D-South Bronx) said yesterday.
CITGO, the Houston-based subsidiary of Venezuela's national oil company, owns 14,000 gas stations and eight refineries in the U.S. Because of that, Chavez has a ready-made distribution system and doesn't need any special approvals from the White House for his project.

So handing out free fuel has always been a tactic employed for political purposes. And in the end, such programs always run out of money and go bust, as happened in this case. Chavez handed out free or cheap heating fuel to raise sentiment against President Bush beginning in 2005, and in former Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy, II, had just the man to help him out. 

Now Joe Biden's doing the same thing.

That's quite a guy to copy, given his record.

Handing out free heating oil is a cheap Band-aid solution and won't do a thing to fix inflation, which is what the claimed purpose is. Biden's federal spending on this all of his claimed inflation-alleviation handouts, in fact, will make inflation worse, because free stuff always raises demand for such free stuff. Apply that to fixed resources and the price goes up -- with the result inflation.

Hugo was a pioneer in bringing hyperinflation to Venezuela for just that reason  -- he couldn't stop hiring bureaucrats and spending Venezuela's oil largesse instead of investing it in oil infrastructure and saving it for times of low energy prices. He always thought oil prices would go up forever, so he could spend as he pleased. He and his successor, Nicolas Maduro, were known by those who understood the energy industry, such as former PDVSA board member, Pedro Burelli, as a bus without brakes. 

Which sounds a little familiar now that Joe's following his footsteps, except with a lot less of Chavez's malevolent charisma, and a lot more benefit of hindsight, which he has ignored. Midterms? Hey, 1-877-Joe-4-Oil is back.

Biden's doing it to save his political hide as midterms approach. Even with the knowledge of how this expensive program messed up Venezuela, he's going ahead with it anyway. What a role model he's following! What a nakedly political picture out there for the rest of us watching it unfold. That's about as sorry a picture as such things can get.

Image: Embassy of Venezuela, Minsk, via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

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