Some people might assume that a nation rich in natural resources would automatically be prosperous. But free-market principles, not a wealth of natural resources, are a surer path to prosperity for any country.
The South American nation of Venezuela has vast oil reserves. Yet Venezuela is run so badly by socialist strongman Hugo Chavez that it has the highest annual inflation rate, close to 30 percent, of any country in the Western Hemisphere. In fact, it has had the hemisphere's worst inflation for six years. The Venezuelan people suffer great shortages, even when it comes to basics such as milk.
That is tragic but predictable. Chavez has nationalized one industry after another, and he has slapped price controls on lots of goods -- creating the shortages.
Yet to boost his re-election hopes, he has now started new entitlements, such as a monthly cash benefit for low-income families which comes to $100 per child.
He is following bad policies with worse, and greater poverty will be the result.