Why President Obama Is Really No Worse than el Presidente Chávez

This article by James Petras, a former professor of sociology at Binghamton University who claims "a 50-year membership in the class struggle," appeared on September 17 in the Dissident Voice -- a remarkable publication with which I had not previously been familiar. It chastises our beloved President Obama because he has failed to make the tremendous progress attributable to Venezuelan el Presidente Chávez. The author, in slamming President Obama, neglects at least one salient factor: unlike el Presidente Chávez, who has been in office for about ten years, President Obama has had fewer than three years to lift the United States from the morass of capitalism and to bring forth a glorious new society pleasing unto Him. In defense of the author, it does seem as though President Obama has been in office for at least ten years, often even longer.

Here are some of the contrasting great leaps forward made or promised by these two astonishing leaders. Although both will face reelections in 2012 when the economic conditions of their countries will be foremost in the minds of the voters, el Presidente Chávez has moved vigorously to give Venezuela an ideal society while President Obama has failed to do that for the United States. For example,

President Chavez responded via a large scale program in public spending on social programs. Billions were allocated in a massive housing program designed to create one million homes over the next several years. . . .

While few of the promised new homes have actually been built, at least they have been promised. And that's important; elections are coming soon and promises work very well. This, courtesy of Weil at Tal Cual:

Not content to rest upon his housing laurels,

Chavez increased the minimum wage, social security and pension payments, increasing consumption among low income groups, stimulating demand and increasing revenues for small and medium size businesses.

This must have been very hard to do, since Venezuela has eliminated much private economic activity and made most of what remains unprofitable. The takeover of farm lands and food distribution has also resulted in chronic shortages. That's not a problem -- it's a feature, not a bug:

The former paratrooper, who is an avowed fan of Robert Mugabe, the Zimbabwean dictator, and Fidel Castro, Cuba's Communist tyrant, boasted that he has launched a new era of socialist supremacy. He said:

"Socialism is necessarily better than capitalism across the board and, that's what we're proving."