In what turns out to be an excellent lesson in economics and moral philosophy, the Biden administration is revealing how so-called “sanctions” against imports and against U.S. companies doing business with targeted foreign nations actually TARGET AMERICAN CONSUMERS and assume for them what should be their own choices about how to spend their cash.
Patricia Garip, Vivian Salama, and Kejal Vyras report for the Wall Street Journal that Biden is preparing to pull down many of the U.S.'s “sanctions” on Venezuela.
After collectivist Nicolas Maduro won a 2017 Venezuelan “election” the authenticity of which many in two US regimes have questioned, the Trump administration imposed the first of what became a long line of “sanctions” against, first, Maduro himself (and any assets or business ties he might have in the U.S.), then against his son, Nicolas Maduro Guerra, and against Venezuelan mining, oil, and natural gas exports that might be purchased by Americans who are just too dumb to know how to run their lives and what to buy or not buy.
Curiously, in the 2019 announcement of the sanctions against Maduro Guerra, the U.S. government offered, in part, this:
“This action demonstrates that the United States will continue to hold officials of the illegitimate Maduro regime accountable for their oppression of the Venezuelan people, theft of Venezuela’s resources, and the disastrous policies that have created unbearable living conditions throughout the country. While Nicolas Maduro, his family and associates continue to enjoy lives of luxury, the Venezuelan people suffer…”
All one need do is replace the name “Maduro” with virtually any D.C. politician, and the title “Venezuelan” with “American” and that statement seems eerily applicable to federal and leftist stat-level political treatment of Americans, not just since the start of the lockdowns and energy blocks Biden put in virtually at the start of his rule, but going back much further in U.S. history.
Offers the WSJ:
“The Biden administration is preparing to scale down sanctions on Venezuela’s authoritarian regime to allow Chevron Corp. CVX -0.86%▼ to resume pumping oil there, paving the way for a potential reopening of U.S. and European markets to oil exports from Venezuela, according to people familiar with the proposal.”
Chevron being, as the corporation says, “the second-largest integrated energy company headquartered in the United States,” and a direct descendant of JP Morgan’s 19th Century-started Standard Oil.
According to the WSJ, the “sanctions relief” for Venezuela, which has experienced raging price increases due to its debt-financing inflation, and which, under both Maduro and his collectivist predecessor, Hugo Chavez, nationalized everything from vast private oil fields, to fields they had licensed to foreign companies, to farms, even to toilet paper makers, comes with some “strings.”
“In exchange for the significant sanctions relief, the government of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro would resume long-suspended talks with the country’s opposition to discuss conditions needed to hold free and fair presidential elections in 2024, the people said. The U.S., Venezuela’s government and some Venezuelan opposition figures have also worked out a deal that would free up hundreds of millions of dollars in Venezuelan state funds frozen in American banks to pay for imports of food, medicine and equipment for the country’s battered electricity grid and municipal water systems.”
Isn’t it great to see arbitrary, Constitution-burning, extra-judicial U.S. activity now being put on the negotiating table to possibly be ended?
Where did the cadre of American politicians and bureaucrats think they could derive the power to unilaterally “freeze” assets of anyone, let alone foreigners, without due process? There is no provision in the Constitution that allows anyone in the federal government to “freeze” assets. The Constitution is supposed to insure that people who are accused of criminal activity receive due process.
One can say with confidence that Chavez, Maduro, and Maduro II (Electric Boogaloo), are not and were not good guys. But the process laid out for the operation of the U.S. government is clear, and this “freeze” gimmick that so often is used against foreigners and U.S. citizens alike is spectacularly unconstitutional. As much as it might give partisan U.S. folks satisfaction that someone they feel sure is a baddie is being hit by said “sanctions,” the very act of a “freeze” smacks of the same “ends justify the means” mindset that saw people like Maduro crush the rights of others.
But the larger picture here has to do with the sudden change of Bidenista heart.
Why now? Maduro hasn’t converted to libertarianism, hasn’t become a born-again freedom-lover.
It seems most likely that the Biden regime is softening to the idea of Venezuelan imports because – SHOCK! – its imposition of sanctions and blockages of Russian petrochemicals, as well as its blockages of domestic fuel exploration, domestic oil and gas transfer capacity, and blocks of increased oil refining capacity, have contributed to a dangerous shortage in many kinds of food, oil, gasoline, kerosine, natural gas, and coal here in the States.
In other words, Biden is ready to remove “sanctions” blocking Venezuelan petrochemical imports because, as is the rule in economics, political blocks against supplies – regardless of the reason – harm the people living at home.
The U.S. Constitution claims for the feds the power to impose excise taxes on imported goods. But the same Constitution does not grant total blockage of imports, nor the seizure of monetary property, nor the seizure of physical property without trial or what the government calls “just compensation” (whatever THAT is).
And, have no doubt, when the feds tell you that they can control whatever in the economy they want, they are not only blocking the suppliers, they are blocking YOU from freedom.
As we have seen since Biden erected walls against Russian energy-creating resources, there is a perverse, insulting hollowness to slogans like “Home of the Free” in a nation where not only politicians, but media chatterboxes, and even large portions of the population take it as standard that there should be some kind of “U.S. energy policy,” telling people what they can and can’t buy.
That’s called fascism.
And in this case, it’s home-grown. No imports needed.