Tucker Carlson goes to Argentina — and shows us what it's like to live in a country where the government can't stop printing money

Argentina is a developed country, with an educated population, a huge middle class, and tremendous natural resources.

But when you look at it closely...you learn quickly why its nationals want to flee, and why anti-establishment "anarcho-capitalist" Javier Milei is leading in the polls and likely to win Argentina's presidency come October. 

The problem is inflation — 165% inflation as of July, according to Steve Hanke's inflation index, which is the most accurate reading.

Tucker Carlson went down to Buenos Aires to find out exactly what that is like, exploring in a mere ten minutes on Twitter just how normal people have to live with it on an extended basis, all because its socialist government can't stop printing money.

It's a doozy.  See it here.

It's powerful stuff because it describes how people lives with this nightmare, and he talks to the best of the best Argentinian experts who live in the country, such as economist and professor Diana Mondino.  A prominent economist in the States once told me she was known as "the woman who knows everything." 

It's also fearsomely accurate — it describes the Argentina I saw during its post-2001 devaluation period, with people losing their life savings to inflation, people unable to get their money out of banks, people bitterly banging on pots and pans in protest, people desperately trying to get hold of black market dollars just to have currency that is worth something tomorrow, and stuffing those dollars under their mattresses.  Tucker's segment told me that absolutely nothing has changed in that country, except that it's getting worse, and the people are ready to rise up to put a stop to the nightmare.

Tucker explicitly explains that Argentina is what it's like to live in a country with extended inflation, with a government cannot stop printing money, which sounds like another country we know, still kind of upstream of that terrible fate.

Tucker starts out with the problem of extended inflation and shows us how Argentina a hundred years ago was one of the richest countries in the world.  He describes how politicians like to print money they don't have, "but what happens if you keep doing it year after year?"  Today, it's a run-down country, where roads and bridges fall apart.  Beautiful Beaux Arts, Art Nouveau, and Art Deco buildings are covered with graffiti and trash and have since gone "ratty."

He begins by interviewing a beleaguered restaurant owner, who describes the impact of the money devaluing 10% every single month and how hard it is to get people to even want to work on those terms.

He then interviews Mondino, who describes poverty and how more than half the country is under the poverty line now.  "Chicken is a luxury," Tucker notes.  Anyone who wants to buy something expensive has to pay in dollars, but the government "lies" about the true exchange rate for them and gives people less than their true exchange rate.

He then gets into a car and takes a drive to a "cueva," or cave, which are the little illegal black market money exchanges where locals go to exchange their hard-earned paychecks for U.S. dollars simply to preserve the value of their work and purchasing power.  It's a jolly place, and everything is orderly, with Tucker handing the man at the bank-like counter a $100 bill and walking out with stacks and stacks of nearly worthless Argentine pesos, which will be worth less tomorrow than they are even today.

Imagine that was your country and this is your national currency and had the value of home insulation you know, and this was your work product, this was what you spent all day working for, and this was what you hoped to feed your family with ... and it had been rendered worthless by greedy dishonest pigs running your government and lecturing you about transgenderism and - but in the end you were left impoverished and they were left rich, I mean that's theft...it was very orderly, but IMAGINE if your life entailed going four times to a quote 'cave' just to get the actual exchange rate on your money that you made by working. Again, they're stealing and they're lying and they're enforcing that lie at gunpoint, they close those places down because they're this little window into reality that the government can't tolerate.

That's what a collapsing society looks like. Everybody's moving backwards, nobody can tell the truth about anything. The functions of ordinary life have to be conducted furtively, in caves.

Naturally, a lot of people say "no" and refuse to work.  The labor force participation rate is very low.  The government is fine with it; the NGOs and the press are happy with it.

But in these conditions, it shouldn't surprise anyone that Javier Milei is rising as a political leader in that country and is likely to be elected president by October.  Take a gander:

Tucker does a mini-profile of Milei, who favors dollarization, which is the only solution that will fix this disastrous problem of inflation and devaluation in Argentina, and whose political presentations are pure fire.  Naturally, the Washington Post and the rest of polite society hate Milei, but that's because they're comfortable, while Argentinians are not.  Tucker will feature an interview with him in the next segment. 

Tucker explains what this interview will really be about, which is that this problem is not just about Argentina, but about the U.S., too, which, under Joe Biden, is hurtling down the same road Argentina took over the decades, and while the U.S. now is not Argentina, it's getting there.  No wonder the WaPo feels Milei is a threat.

That's where the real value of the segments is — that the U.S. is more like Argentina than it realizes as left-wingery gets the hooks in.  And the sludgy ruin of inflation and lies is the end product of that extended socialism, which is all about printing money until the value of the money collapses.

I liked this segment because it had such a strong déjà vu sense of the reality I saw when I was in Buenos Aires myself.  Tucker could have gone into more detail about having to deal with cave dollars, and what followed from there — such as colchón banks or "mattress banks," which leaves homes uniquely vulnerable to theft, or dollar-sniffing dogs on the ferry routes to Uruguay and its banks, where Argentinians store a lot of their hard-earned cash out of the reach of Argentina's greedy authorities.  But it was a short segment, and it's shocking enough as he had it.

I met Mondino myself in Buenos Aires, where she was then the chief of Standard & Poor's for Argentina and all Latin America, and had cut her own country's credit rating to something like zero after it defaulted on its sovereign debt, and am confident that Tucker got the real story and talked to the best people, who really understand what's going on in that country and why it has skidded so badly.  That conversation Tucker had with Mondino must have been incredible, and it would be valuable if he could air all of it.

The bottom line, though, is that the entire segment is a sad and necessary warning to Americans about what the future holds if it cannot change course.  It can happen here, too.

Image: Twitter screen shot.

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