This year, Chávez stuck to the classics. Nothing fancy, just a good, old fashioned nobody’s-reading-newspapers-this-week massive money grab.
With Venezuelan oil export prices topping $108/barrel, Chávez signed a decree to grab 95% of windfall profits on oil sold at more than $100/b.
And I write “Chávez” rather than “the government” advisdedly: because this money is not going to “the government”, but rather into the totally-discretional, extravagantly-opaque, never-ever-audited off-budget petty cash box known as Fonden: you know, the biggest one of the ten black-box spending mechanisms that won’t stoop to actually telling us what it spends on when and won’t even disclose its balance sheets until two years after the fact.
So that money’s pretty much vanished down the rabbit hole, never to be heard from again.
But hey, how much of a buzz-kill is it having to actually, you know, account for how you spend millions in public funds?