We Americans are obsessed with diets and dieting. Diets like Adkins, South Beach, Mediterranean, etc., are household names. Some of them work for individuals for periods of time. However, I know one that has worked and is working currently for an entire country. The diet originates in Venezuela.
Since the media coverage of Venezuela is scant, I think I should name the diet. The appropriate name could be the Hugo Chavez diet. Since Chavez instituted a socialist system in the country, a prosperous oil-rich country has become a basket case. According to a recent Reuters annual survey, Venezuelans reported losing an average of 24 pounds in body weight last year, and almost 90 percent now live in poverty.
This "diet" was based on the fact that over 60 percent of Venezuelans surveyed told Reuters that they woke up hungry because they did not have enough money to buy food, and about a quarter of the population was eating two or fewer meals a day.
This result is an inconvenient fact to socialism enthusiasts who are basking in the reflected glory of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the young woman from the Bronx who took out Rep. Joe Crowley in the recent New York congressional primary. Of course, Ocasio- Cortez and supporters say they want only the good socialism, not the bad socialism like Venezuela's.
It's very questionable that Ocasio-Cortez would be a reliable planner in executing massive public policies. She recently was on a PBS show with Margaret Hoover, and she was challenged to explain the flaws in the Trump economic plans that have resulted in lowering unemployment rates to historic levels for Hispanics and African Americans.
Cortez, who has a degree in economics from pricey Boston University, responded, "Unemployment is low because everyone has two jobs. Unemployment is low because people are working 60,70, 80 hours a week and can barely feed their kids."
This socialist genius actually believes that the Bureau of Labor Statistics counts multiple jobs per person in coming up with the unemployment rate. The reality is that the unemployment rate is determined by taking the number of unemployed people and dividing by it by the number of people in the labor force, so multiple jobs has no bearing on any of this. In addition, according to Politifact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says the number of multiple job holders has ranged between 6 million and 7 million, out of 148 million Americans who are employed in a single job. They conclude that this is a tiny fraction and the percentage isn't high by historical standards.
I am not the only critic of Ocasio-Cortez and other socialists such as those who beat Democrats in the recent Pennsylvania primary races in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. People such as Nancy Pelosi and former Connecticut Sen. Joe Leiberman have pointed out how dangerous these people are to winning elections. In fact, Ocasio-Cortez has led the charge in calling for the abolishment of ICE, and this has triggered some of the top Democrat presidential candidates to call for the same thing , who later have to modify this radical position.
It's interesting to me that Bernie Sanders has not taken the bait. He has not called for abolishing ICE. However, in this upcoming election cycle, Sanders might be brushed aside for this new wave.
The new wave thinks youthful socialism is the ticket. It taps into the views that are wildly popular on leafy college campuses and in the minds of people such as Sean Penn. I don't think will play well in Philadelphia with older Democrats and union members who are in the building trades and related fields. I don't see guys in hard hats singing the praises of the Castro crowd.
The defenders of Ocasio-Cortez claim that people like me are trying to demonize her and make her the new face of the Democratic Party. I guess quoting her accurately and charting the media attention she receives is being unfair.
The central quality of socialism is central planning. The idea is that government experts through force and coercion can make better decisions for people than they can make for themselves. That is a scary thought for lovers of liberty. Remember it when you hear Ocasio-Cortez.
Teacher-turned-talk show host Dom Giordano is heard 9 a.m. to noon weekdays on WPHT (1210-AM). Contact him at www.domgiordano.com. On Twitter at @DomShow1210