The Blog

Dropping the Mask

1:52 PM, May 23, 2008 • By BRIAN FAUGHNAN
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Maxine Waters let the cat out of the bag yesterday. Congressional Democrats talk a moderate game, but when they speak candidly it's clear they have an extreme agenda in mind. It may be unfair to pick on Representative Waters; she is probably the most confused Representative in Congress. Want proof? She's introduced legislation to reverse the Kelo decision. So she's a fierce defender of private property rights, who thinks a critical sector of the economy should be taken over by the government.

It may be lost on Ms. Waters, but it should be pointed out that two of the other nationalized oil companies in our hemisphere are currently collapsing because their governments are skimming their profits and underinvesting in future production:

Petróleos de Venezuela, or PDVSA, ''is overstretched to capacity with any number of needs,'' said Patrick Esteruelas, an analyst at the New York-based Eurasia Group.

The firm is borrowing billions from foreign lenders, while independent estimates show its output falling. U.S. data shows imports from Venezuela last year hit a 12-year low after dropping 8.2 percent from 2005...

PDVSA is not the only state oil company in Latin America to face such problems. Mexico's Petróleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, now faces rapidly shrinking reserves and outdated technology. Company executives agree they must reinvest much more but are hamstrung by Mexico's constitution. Nearly 60 percent of Pemex's revenues go to the federal budget each year, while debt and pension obligations total upward of $100 billion.

So while Barack Obama is campaigning on a promise of bringing the parties together on a practical, problem-solving agenda, senior Democrats in Congress are talking about nationalizing oil, nationalizing health care, slamming Americans with higher taxes, and re-creating the New Deal. Obama should be asked where he stands on this extreme agenda (and not least because he's the proponent of nationalized health care I linked to above).

HT: Hot Air