"God will provide"

The intense hatred people feel for Nicolás Maduro and company stems, in large part, from the fact that they just don't show up for work.

It’s difficult to write about economic policy these days, because Venezuela doesn’t have one.

The figures may be a closely guarded secret, but everyone knows them: yearly inflation at >200%, the world’s deepest recession, increasing poverty. All of this is alarming, but the only people who are not at all alarmed are the very people elected to solve these problems.

If you’re a government that cares about its population, there are a number of things you could do under worsening economic conditions.

  • You could change your economic team.
  • You could change the rules under which private businesses work.
  • You could announce a drastic overhaul of public finances.
  • You could issue major directives changing monetary and exchange policies.
  • You could announce a markedly different social policy.

Any responsible ruler, faced with the overwhelming economic maelstrom Venezuela faces, would try one of these. Any of these. All of these. Heck, even Hugo Chávez (even frickin’ Robert Mugabe) tried combinations of these at some point or another.

But Nicolás Maduro and his cronies? They can’t be bothered.

I was trying to remember any major economic policy announcements in the last few months, and quite honestly, the only thing I can think of is Maduro’s announcement to the National Assembly last January that, in the face of plummeting oil prices, “God will provide” the solutions the economy needs.

This, more than anything, is the defining characteristic of Maduro-nomics. Do nothing, defend the status quo, pray that some event comes to rescue you, and take credit for anything good that happens…”como sea.”

This is a government that has run out of ideas. It’s not driven by ideology – it’s driven by sloth. They lack the energy, the funds, the creativity, and the stamina to govern the country. People’s problems are beyond them, and all they can do is hold on to the parcels of power they control so effectively.

Public policy bores them. They’re not interesting in governing.

This is enormously frustrating for those of us who like to, y’know, actually analyze things. It is also the main reason why Venezuelans, sick and tired of feeling adrift, are set to punish them harshly at the polls next month.