Lately some conservative readers have been trying to give me a hard time. As a return favor I will give them one point, well, sort off. Daniel Henninger of the WSJ does not like democrats and describes today how ignorant of business practices the Democratic party has become. His analysis is a little too black and white for my taste, the guy letting his best judgement clouded by his personal dislike of Unions as the source of all evil, too easily forgetting the historical reasons for unions even if today too many of them look like mafia concerns. Not to mention that some union workers vote GOP while some business owners vote DEM.....
Before I digress further the point of this post is that I wonder what Henninger would write if he were familiar with the truly abysmal ignorance of business that chavismo displays, and its concept of trade unions which would make Henninger's view actually moderate. For chavismo unions are not even a source of financing, they are the means to control workers soviet style. That is, viewed from here, I would be delighted if PSUV candidates last September had felt like they needed to court trade unions to gain votes. In today Venezuela the Unions opposing Chavez are too weak to be of significant help for the opposition electoral efforts. But the Chavez supporting Unions, if we can call them unions at this point, are equally useless in politics because they are even failing at keeping the lid on workers demand. Until recently they still had some successes in bringing home some bacon but it seems that workers now know better, that the chavista bosses are not anymore into the business of making workers life better.
And thus I disagree with Henninger in that well functioning Unions are a force for long term stability even if in Venezuela they are now useless, even if in the US they play politics and even if like in France they have become hysterical. The point here is not pretending that DEM only care about Union checks for their campaign, I think that they got the pint last week. the point maybe is to redefine what role have trade Unions have in a world dominated by Twitter. Well, I exaggerate for effect but you got my point: a majority obsessed with technology and speed is less likely to take unions seriously and even in the US the DEMs will find their alleged marriage to trade unions less and less productive.
However there is a point that I will agree with Henninger: when the ruling party loses any notion of what private business is all about then things start going badly for all, including that ruling party. At least the DEMs at some point did know what it meant to own a small business, and still many do, but the problem with chavismo is that not a single one of its officials had ever had the remotest idea of what it takes to run a small business, amen of a big one.
There is an example I have often used. There has been not a single cabinet minister in Chavez administration in years that has any idea of what "meeting payroll" means. All have been bureaucrats at best and if one day they held some position of responsibility they could always say to their staff that their paycheck is late because the finance ministry did not send the money. Go and cry there if you must but there is nothing I can do for you.
I think this attitude of chavista ministers explain more than anything else so many of the idiocies we see, from Chavez saying that doctors should work for free to ministers refusing to receive the people they should be accountable too. The large majority of people that started a business have had to go through, at some point, probably in the first months of their business life, and no matter how big their business became, the wrenching experience of wondering how they will meet payroll, having to decide to sacrifice their own paycheck that month if necessary so that the cleaning lady will get hers. Sounds incredible for silly lefties fed on cliches but it is the reasons why serious business progress because such an experience toughens you, makes you responsible, accountable, something rarely seen in bureaucrats writing regulation policies. And of course something NEVER seen in chavistas.