November 30, 2008

Surprise, surprise: Chávez wants a mulligan on indefinite re-election

Quico says: Bring. It. On!

Update: The more I think about it, the more I think Chávez is caught in a trap of his own making here.

Again, it's the oil cycle, stupid! He's doing this at the end of the oil boom, with the economy already overheated, inflation pretty much out of control, and public revenue drying up.

Chávez's instincts will be to beg, borrow or print the money he needs to ramp up public spending ahead of the vote. It's the only way he knows how to get NiNis and moderate chavistas to turn out and vote for a proposal they've never been crazy about.

Trouble is, ramping up public spending in an overheated economy where inflation is already out of control doesn't actually increase people's purchasing power: it just feeds straight into higher prices!

The populist spending spree tactics of yesteryear just won't work under these conditions. NiNis and moderate chavistas are not going to support a proposal that's all about his problems, not theirs, at a time when inflation is fast clawing back all the gains they've made in the last five years.

It's a loser, this proposal. Remember where you read it first.