Reportedly, the South American country of Venezuela is currently experiencing a 475% inflation rate. Not good… The government there has taken many steps over the years to level the playing field between the rich and poor with predictable results—runaway inflation being only one of them.
We’ve seen this scenario play itself out in country after country where governments think they know best and stick their fingers in everything. Governing entities usually work much better when they play as minimal a role as possible in people’s lives. Alas, they just can’t seem to help themselves.
The Venezuelan authorities have now taken things to a new level—maybe better stated as a new low. They are now bringing in reinforcements for Baby Jesus. How quaint…
In the past they have done things like nationalize the oil industry, set food prices to levels lower than production costs, and make unsustainable populist giveaways. All this and more has led to shortages of all kinds, interminably long lines at grocery stores, and a 70% poverty rate (so much for leveling the playing field).
The new tact of the political class has arrived just in time for the Christmas holiday season. The Venezuelan equivalent of our Consumer Protection Agency has confiscated about five million toys from the largest toy distributor in that country. The reason? Said distributor was supposedly hoarding the toys to sell them at an inflated rate. The government’s plan is to sell the toys at a discount—thirty percent or more. Sounds like a great business plan.
“That’s a lot of inventory”
People are accusing the government of being the Grinch because, as one might imagine, it’s very difficult for parents to actually get their hands on these toys. Even if these playthings get distributed in time, one has to wonder what this will do to the toy industry. Five million—that’s a lot of inventory.
The government has now not only tampered with the everyday lives of the Venezuelan people, it has messed up Christmas for them. Sounds like the makings of a revolution to me. There are some things you just can’t mess with.
In a statement following the great toy confiscation, President Nicolas Maduro said, “This is like reinforcement for Baby Jesus.” Don’t you just love politicians? It’s not enough to ruin Christmas; we have to blame Jesus for it. Oh, the humanity!
I don’t presume to speak for Jesus on this matter, but it seems to me he can fend for himself. After all, he is the God of the universe (toy manufacturers and governments not withstanding). Sending in reinforcements might be a bit presumptuous at this point. I’m sure Nicolas was merely blowing smoke out his various bodily orifices anyway.
We all know that no toy hoarder is going to deter the Baby Jesus from riding all over the world to slide down chimneys and deliver the necessary toys to every boy and girl. Oh, wait! Jesus is not the one who does that. Hmm… Maybe we have a new St. Nick.
[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and is currently the pastor of Smith Chapel, in Great Falls, VA.]