By Chris Queen
It’s the panacea that’s supposed to fix everything from inflation to unemployment to dandruff. So, why then is Venezuela in such bad shape, because Nicholas Maduro just raised the minimum wage for the 15th time in four years?
On his regular television show, “Sundays with Maduro,” the president ordered a 60 percent increase in the country’s minimum wage starting Monday. It was the third pay increase the socialist leader has ordered this year and the 15th since he became president in 2013.
It is small solace to workers who seen the buying power of their earnings eroded by a sinking currency and the world’s highest inflation — forecast to accelerate to 2,000 percent next year, according to the International Monetary Fund.
Is a minimum wage equivalent to $3 an hour considered a living wage?
But that’s not all. Under Maduro’s watch, the Venezuelan government gave away hundreds of apartments:
The president also watched as officials in several states handed over the keys to hundreds of new apartments, some built with Chinese funding, bringing to 1.6 million the number of public housing units built by a program started by the late President Hugo Chavez.
(I can’t help but picture an Oprah-style giveway: “You get a home! And you get a home!”)
The wage hike and apartment giveaway comes as protests calling for Maduro’s ouster are on the rise. Protests have turned deadly — 29 people have died in demonstrations, and the socialist government is quickly trying to put to rest the rumors that a canister of tear gas thrown by a police officer killed a 20-year-old student.
So with all this generosity that would make American liberals green with envy, why isn’t Venezuela thriving? Oh wait … it’s because socialism is a system that fails every time nations try it.