The rising price of oil in recent years has really exposed some power-mongering heads of state who are more than happy to use the iron fist of government to impose their will.
In Argentina, we have President Cristina Fernandez going the full monty on nationalization of the country’s largest oil company, most of which is owned by Spain.
Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez said this week that her country plans to take over a giant Spanish oil company… <source>
This is on the heels of her government imposition of price caps on industry participants, which led them to underinvest and thus provoke full-scale nationalization, the inevitable next step of fascist regimes.
What does ms. Fernandez have to say about her latest fascist act?
When she made the announcement, she declared, “I am a head of state, and not a hoodlum.”
The lady doth protest too much: hoodlum is her word, and since she brought it up, her denial binds it firmly to her.
And oh how the hoodlum is tired at this point:
Cristina Kirchner has already nationalized other parts of the economy. She’s taken over the national airline and billions of dollars in pension funds, as well. <source>
Meanwhile, in the USA we have Barack Hussein Obama. After spending three years beating down the fossil fuel industry in America, including his 7-year ban on drilling in the Gulf and his opposition to the Canada-Texas oil pipeline, and funneling tax payer billions to “clean energy” frauds such as Solyndra and Fisker Automotive, mr. Obama is now turning his attention to a more direct assault against the oil industry.
The administration needs to “work extra hard to protect consumers from factors that should not affect the price of a barrel of oil,” he said. “That includes doing everything we can to ensure that an irresponsible few aren’t able to hurt consumers by illegally manipulating or rigging the energy markets for their own gain.” <source>
Notice mr. Obama’s knee-jerk paranoia on a market being driven by global forces of supply and demand: “…rigging the energy markets for their own gain”, he suggests. Which demands that we ask this question: was mr. Obama similarly paranoid about Wall Street participants “rigging the capital markets for their own gain”? Absolutely not, a fact proven by his sham financial “reform” that reformed exactly nothing (see yesterday’s essay).
Notice also mr. Obama’s focus on using government to influence the price of oil. All statists want to control prices and all who do so take whatever problems exist and multiply them by ten- or a hundred-fold. But perhaps they know this and are merely laying the groundwork for their end-game, which is now playing out in Argentina: nationalization of whole industries.
And finally, take note of this bit of jack-booted thuggery:
Obama wants Congress to approve new funding for at least a six-fold increase of “cops on the beat” to stop market manipulation and illegal speculation, a tenfold increase in civil and criminal penalties for manipulation and new funding to update the CFTC’s technology to monitor markets.
This reminds me of Obama’s new legion of IRS agents who will enforce socialized medicine.
A new analysis by the Joint Economic Committee and the House Ways & Means Committee minority staff estimates up to 16,500 new IRS personnel will be needed to collect, examine and audit new tax information mandated on families and small businesses… <source>
Is there a theme here?
As if I had to ask.
On a separate but related topic, I have often written of the importance of culture on the wealth of nations, observing that former colonies of Spain tend to be persistently poorer than former colonies of England. Regarding the cultural tolerance for fascism, consider the following trail of tears in Latin America:
Nationalizing foreign companies has long been a temptation for cash-strapped developing countries in Latin America and elsewhere. It’s been much less common in recent years, though there are still examples. President Hugo Chavez has steadily nationalized key industries in Venezuela, including oil, cement, steel and just two years ago, two glass-making plants owned by the U.S. company Owens-Illinois. In Bolivia, President Evo Morales has nationalized oil and gas, telecommunications and electricity, and silver mining. Ecuador nationalized its oil and gas industry, and President Rafael Correa threatens to nationalize banana-exporting companies whenever producers feel squeezed.
A tendency towards dictatorship and socialism is clearly seen in such countries, and it only serves once again to remind us of our heritage, which is decidedly different, and better, if wealth and freedom are of any importance.
And what of the Occupier of the Oval Office? Which culture does he preserve and defend — the culture of central planning and corruption, or the culture of American heritage?
As if I had to ask.