Friday, November 16, 2007

Just what I thought 

Courtesy the Lubrio blog we have this neat contraption that allows you to watch alot of the advertisements in favor of the proposed constitutional reforms and you get to hear Chavez in his own words defending them (apologies in advance this is all in Spanish):

Haz click en cualquier video para verlo
Puedes ver más en www.radiomundial.com.ve

I haven't been able to watch most of it yet. But from what I've seen there is a) little focus on specifics - just vote for the reform because its the "revolutionary" thing to do b)Chavez playing his trump card of if you are against these reforms you are against me (which he is free to do but it certainly doesn't do much to elevate the level of discussion) and c) it seems to avoid most of the contraversial topics such as unlimited re-election, term leangth increase, and recall votes being made more difficult.

Interesting stuff but no substitute for a real discussion.


Ok, now I've had a chance to listen to more including Chavez's statements on the reduction of the work day to 6 hours. He says that PDVSA alone will have to hire 7,000 more workers to fully staff its operations with the reduced work day. The Venezuelan economy overall will see 150,000 new jobs created. Sounds about right.

BUT, even the host asks about how these people will be paid and won't it increase costs to business. Chavez then completely BS's this by going into some bogus arguement about the economy growing (which it is but that has nothing to do with this).

In point of fact, unless people take a cut in pay that corresponds with the reduction in the hours they work this will hurt the Venezuelan economy. Just one example. If PDVSA keeps paying all its current employees the same wages AND then has to hire 7,000 new employees on top of this they will see their costs increased by the salary and benefit cost of those 7,000 new employees. Given that its earnings will still be what they are (this doesn't change production or anything else) then PDVSA will have less money to pay to the government because now it has to spend more money paying salaries.

So this reform will be good if you are one of the lucky 7,000 people who gets a new job at PDVSA. However, for the remaining 27 million people they get hurt as the government will now have less oil revenue to spend on social programs, public works, and economic development projects.

In fact, that whole reform will work like that. A priviledged minority, mainly the couple million who work for the government, will benefit but most of the country will wind up worse off. Anyone with a reasonable understanding of economics should be able to see this quite easily, Chavez's tapping dancing around it notwhithstanding.

Now is it clear why the guy doesn't want to debate?


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