Hugo Chávez has assumed room temperature but his successor, President Nicolas Maduro, is no less a socialist than the deceased dictator who preceded him.
As a result, socialism is working so well in oil-rich Venezuela that Hugo Chávez’s effort to ensure that the poor live more dignified lives has resulted in everyone in Venezuela living a more undignified life where food is scarce and poverty is widespread.
In other words, in Venezuela the playing field has been leveled, making everyone proportionately miserable.
America has different problems. Venezuela has a food shortage while we have an overabundance of junk food. Venezuela has a dictator, and America has a first lady seeking to dictate children’s portion sizes and food choices, so Michelle Obama could definitely learn a thing or two from Venezuela’s new food rationing system.
According to the central bank’s scarcity index, as of January of this year, quite unlike here in the U.S. where government is purposely emptying out school vending machines to protect children from their own lack of self-discipline, “more than a quarter of basic staples were out of stock in Venezuelan stores.”
Some astute prepper-type Venezuelans were concerned that food that is scarce may become even scarcer, so they did what anyone hoping to survive would do – they hoarded limited items like flour and sugar whenever they could get it.
Doing what all socialist dictators tend to do, rather than blame price-cutting and the overall failure of socialism, Venezuela’s president blames the entire food shortage on profit-hungry companies and black-market vendors who buy groceries at subsidized prices and then smuggle flour, sugar, and cooking oil over the border into Columbia to sell at inflated prices.
Here at home, if the growing American Lunchroom Insurrection continues to gain momentum, what goes on between Venezuela and Columbia could certainly be a foreshadowing of what lies ahead in capitalist American schoolyards if expelled junk food is smuggled onto school property and banned soda is sold at jacked-up prices.
Generally, socialists disapprove of storing or hoarding food – it’s just not fair! So, to regulate who buys food and how much and to curtail “over-buying” and food trafficking, Venezuela’s president has instituted a mandatory biometric fingerprinting system, due to be in place by the end of this year, which will be used in both government-run and privately-owned grocery stores.
Although the “secure supply” system is being called “anti-fraud,” fingerprinting food shoppers is really a government effort to ration the little bit of food that presently sits on Venezuela’s grocery shelves.
The bad news for America is that if Michelle Obama catches wind of the idea, there’s a chance in the future that junk food junkies could be stopped dead in their tracks, mid-Double Stuffs, by a grocery store fingerprinting system.
In Venezuela where there is a need for stringent control, the idea started as a voluntary ID system that tracked purchases. The goal was that after waiting for five or more hours on endless lines at government-run “share the wealth” markets, people would be assured access to the bare necessities. Lack of bare necessities is why men with rifles guard the ketchup on the otherwise empty shelves inside warehouse-sized supermarkets and why purchases are meted out by the Venezuelan government.
Hey! Rifle-toting men might be a great way to convince schoolchildren to submit to Michelle Obama’s gag-inducing lunch menu.
Meanwhile in Venezuela, in order to prevent those who didn’t initially sign up for the ID card from buying the same item twice, mandatory fingerprints will be linked to a computer system that will monitor everyone’s food purchases.
Food Minister Felix Osorio, who is sort of a Venezuelan version of Sam Kass, Senior Policy Advisor for Nutrition Policy and “Let’s Move!” Executive Director here in America, says that if a person, with or without an ID card, tries to sneak through an extra bag of flour, the purchase will not register and a suspicious-buying-pattern alarm will go off.
As backup, to ensure that shoppers only engage in what the Venezuelan government calls “nervous buying” every eight days, government checkout workers will also record cell phone numbers. To stop parents from exploiting their children, minors will be prohibited from purchasing food.
Again, it’s important to reiterate that carding those who buy foodstuffs in Venezuelan government-run supermarkets started as a voluntary program, which is how it usually starts with socialism: Government control is proposed as voluntary and then it quickly becomes mandatory.
So, if a similar method were to be instituted in America, initially well-meaning people wanting help to control junk food addictions might sign up for an “anti-fatty system” ID card, but in due time, for the sake of equality and the common good, what started as voluntary – like buying health insurance – would probably become mandatory at the checkout counter.
After all, here in America Michelle Obama has already proposed talking shopping carts to steer consumers toward better food choices. That seemingly benign nutritious “nudge” could open the door to a Venezuelan-style fingerprinting system making all our food choices for us.
Fingerprinting, ID cards, computer databases that monitor purchases, alarm systems, cell phone tracking, and age specifications, if properly tweaked, could certainly accommodate the superfluity of American junk food, children with high BMIs, and insubordinately chubby Americans, all of whom are the targets of Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” healthy initiative.
For those Venezuelans applauding the new “secure supply” supermarket controls, intense gratification, above and beyond the fulfillment that comes from hoarding food, will come from knowing that, thanks to government oversight, rich people will not have more milk, flour, or toilet paper than anyone else.
And while that may be the way it’s done in Venezuela, in America, it’s a bit different – at least for now.
However, if future food-buying controls are implemented here at home, above and beyond the fulfillment that comes from pushing health food on the unwilling will be the intense pleasure Mama Obama will experience when fingerprinting guarantees that all Americans adhere to her rules.
Jeannie hosts a blog at www.jeannie-ology.com