[The following post from the Oil Wars blog takes a critical look at the electoral platform of Manuel Rosales, the opposition candidate in December's presidential election. --Ed]
Over the past few weeks I’ve been trying to digest the news coming
from the Rosales campaign and figure out what it is all about. I think
I’ve now seen enough to draw some conclusions.
First let me detail some of the main proposals that have to date been put forth by Rosales. By far most famous of his plans is “Mi Negra” which is a plan to redistribute oil income directly to the Venezuelan about half of all Venezuelans.
The plan aims to take a big chunk of Venezuela’s oil revenues and hand them out directly to people as a stipend of between $250 and $450 per month depending on oil revenues. This would be along the lines of what is called an “entitlement” in the United States. There would be nothing that the individuals getting this money would need to do. They wouldn’t have to work, go to school, make sure their kids go to school or anything else. All they would have to do is sit at home and wait for the money to show up.
Doing some back of the envelope calculations shows this program would cost at a minimum $7.5 billion per year and possibly up to twice that much.
And for a frame of reference the minimum wage in Venezuela (which is what most people who have jobs earn) is about $200 dollars per month or maybe a little more with benefits. If you are wondering if there would be anyone left working after the implementation of this program you are not alone. Yet without a doubt the “Mi Negra” idea is the idea that Rosales is pinning his hopes on for getting to Miraflores.
Later we saw that in his crime fighting proposals the money flowed just as easily. In addition to hiring hundreds of thousands of new police officers, prosecutors, and judges (and if you are wondering if Venezuela’s bloated government payroll really needs hundreds of thousands of more people on it again you are not alone) Rosales offered to pay over $2,000 for every gun turned in. Given that there are millions of guns floating around Venezuela that could turn out to be almost as costly as “Mi Negra”.
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