Monday, April 18, 2005

Somebody's Gotta Pay For Those Votes

Via AP, Hugo Chavez wants to add a 50% income tax on top of all the other myriad ways he's thinking about squeezing oil companies operating in Venezuela. As I suggested earlier, being a "populist" means there's a lot of people to buy off, something the article makes quite clear in its final sentence:
Chavez says he is leading a "revolution" for the country's poor, and his government allocated more oil revenues toward a range of social programs for the needy.
And I'll bet the "needy" starts with whichever hacks are working the precincts for him.

Update: I should have mentioned something else here: Mexico's Cantarell is expected to go into decline starting in 2006, and one reason is that Mexico's Pemex is run as a patronage system rather than a real oil company. With worldwide petroleum demands hinging on such governments, is it not likely that the rest of the world will have an interest in installing more pliant if not less corruptable governments in countries with these resources? Investments can't be made in a vacuum. Russia has similar problems, with their capricious and unchecked tax agencies.