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Socialism's wreckage

| Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017, 9:00 p.m.
Customers line up outside a bank to get cash in Caracas, Venezuela. Venezuelans already struggling to find food, medicine and other basic necessities have a new headache to worry about: shortages of cash. Troubling shortfalls of Venezuelan bolivars are forcing many in this distressed South American nation to gather in long lines outside banks to take out what little cash is available.  (AP Photo | Fernando Llano)
Customers line up outside a bank to get cash in Caracas, Venezuela. Venezuelans already struggling to find food, medicine and other basic necessities have a new headache to worry about: shortages of cash. Troubling shortfalls of Venezuelan bolivars are forcing many in this distressed South American nation to gather in long lines outside banks to take out what little cash is available. (AP Photo | Fernando Llano)

Stark International Monetary Fund forecasts quantify the ongoing wreckage of Venezuela's economy wrought by the “Bolivarian socialism” of President Nicolas Maduro's regime.

The IMF's new World Economic Outlook report indicates “Venezuela's triple-digit inflation rate is set to jump to more than 2,300 percent in 2018,” Bloomberg reports. That's “the highest estimate for any country tracked” — and by a jaw-dropping margin over No. 2, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, at 44 percent.

Venezuela's “unemployment is forecast to increase to about 30 percent in 2018, also the highest,” Bloomberg says, adding that the IMF also estimates Venezuela's GDP will contract by 12 percent this year and another 6 percent next year.

“Venezuela's central bank stopped publishing inflation data in December 2015” and the country “isn't current with most of its key economic statistics, leaving economists scant data to crunch,” Bloomberg notes. But even as “ballpark” figures, the IMF estimates make clear the scope of the continuing economic disaster created by the state-control policies of Mr. Maduro and his predecessor, the late Hugo Chavez.

Maduro's replacement of the opposition-controlled National Assembly with a new, compliant legislative body to rewrite Venezuela's constitution has bolstered his autocracy. That suggests things will get even worse for Venezuelans before they get better, as do these new IMF forecasts. Sadly, that trend seems certain to continue so long as Maduro remains in power.

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