The audacity of ignorance

Juan Cristobal says: The Chávez’s administration has a long and distinguished record of pulling the most obscure ñángaras from the gutters of academia and putting them in positions where they can do some real harm. However, the current Minister of Planning, Haiman El Troudi, is in a class of his own.

I’ve written about Mr. El Troudi’s “exotic” policy prescriptions before. And if you’re into masochism, you can read more of them in his own blog.

His latest? An earnest call for Venezuelans to respond to the financial crisis by repatriating their dollar holdings. “They’re much safer here than in those speculative banks up north.”

Once you stop laughing, pause to realize that this is the President’s top economic policy architect.

Forget for a second that US bank deposits are insured up to $250,000 by the FDIC, regardless of citizenship. Put aside the fact that nothing “private” is ever safe in Venezuela. Is El Troudi seriously suggesting that investors “flee to Venezuelan quality” by buying up bolivars … at BsF 2.15 per $?!

Think about it. Suppose you’re a chavista bigwig, say, Ambassador to Argentina, and you have a nice hefty bank account in Florida’s Commercebank. If you did what El Troudi said, you would change, say $1 million at the official rate and get BsF 2.15 million. The street value of your dollars, though, is close to BsF 4.5 million (last time I checked).

So by bringing your money back to a “safe” country such as Venezuela, you’d be taking a hit of BsF 2.35 million for the privilege of keeping it in a petrostate at the start of an oil slump. Faster than you can say “yanquis de mierda”, your bank would be nationalized and the information from your bank accounts would be on a CD, for sale for BsF 1.50 from the friendly street vendors of the Plaza Caracas, readily available to any kidnapper looking for a bargain. Genius!

But, hey, what’s left of your money would be safe.

I don’t know if El Troudi’s suggestion is a desperate plea for capital or a desperate plea for ideas. Probably both.

(ps.- hat tip to Omar for the title)