Shortages make the United States look like the USSR
A famous Cold War true story tells of how Soviet leader Boris Yeltsin’s unexpected visit to a Houston-area grocery store contributed to the fall of communism.
Yeltsin stopped by the grocery store after visiting the Johnson Space Center. Still, “it wasn’t all of the screens, the dials and the wonder of NASA that blew her skirt up, it was the unplanned trip to a nearby Randall store,” Stefanie Asin of the Houston Chronicle reported in September 1989.
According to a 2017 Chronicle retrospective:
Yeltsin, then 58, “walked through Randall’s aisles nodding in astonishment,” Asin wrote. … ‘Even the Politburo has no choice. Not even Mr. Gorbachev, he said. When told through his interpreter that there were thousands of items for sale in the store, he couldn’t believe it. He had even thought that the store was a stage, a spectacle for him. Little did he know there were countless stores like this all over the country, some with even more stuff than the Randall’s he visited.
Two months later, in November 1989, the Berlin Wall collapsed and the fall of Soviet communism became a stunt. Later, in his autobiography, Yeltsin wrote that this trip to an American grocery store was what ultimately destroyed his belief in communism. “Two years later, he quit the Communist Party and started making reforms to reverse the economic trend in Russia,” the Chronicle notes.
The New York Times wrote about this visit in its 2007 obituary for Yeltsin:
During a visit to the United States in 1989, he became more convinced than ever that Russia had been ruined by its centralized, state-run economic system, where people lined up to buy the most basic needs. of life and most often found the shelves bare. He was overwhelmed by what he saw in a Houston supermarket, by the kaleidoscopic variety of meats and vegetables available to ordinary Americans.
Leon Aron, quoting an associate of Yeltsin, wrote… “For a long time, on the plane to Miami, he remained motionless, his head in his hands. “What have they done to our poor people? he said after a long silence. He added: “On his return to Moscow, Yeltsin would confess the pain he felt after the excursion to Houston:” pain for all of us, for our country so rich, so talented and so exhausted by endless experiences. ” ‘
He wrote that Mr. Yeltsin added: “I think we have committed a crime against our people by making their standard of living so incomparably lower than that of Americans. A collaborator, Lev Sukhanov, reportedly said that was when “the last vestige of Bolshevism collapsed” inside his boss.
It wasn’t just Yeltsin – those who managed to flee Communist-ruled states had similar revelations in American grocery stores. Some people cried the first time they entered the United States. A Jewish man recorded in an oral history project tells how, under Soviet communism, to get foods like sausages, you had to know someone with inside information.
“In America, when we went to a supermarket like King’s Sooper, it was overwhelming to see so many products,” emigrant Yankl Garelik told the interviewer in Russian. “It was like a vacation for us to go shopping for food and stuff.”
In 1989 in Moscow, supermarkets looked like this:
I heard about the phenomenon of communist grocery stores a few years ago, and it occurred to me recently while shopping here in the heart of the United States. In America, I see things that remind me of those stories from the USSR: empty shelves, understaffed staff, exhausted managers, shortages.
In one store, the manager who checked me over and over again apologized profusely for the understaffing, saying that she couldn’t hire anyone. While checking me out, she got a call from a customer asking for out-of-stock items, telling the caller she didn’t know when they might get them.
From people across the country, I hear similar stories.
“The lady who helped me load my couch into the back of my van told us she hired 39 people at a time,” writes a colleague from a western state of buying new furniture . “Some of them showed up for orientation, and most of those who went for orientation never came back. They have signs like every 12 feet in the store saying they’re hiring.
“I spent 10 minutes in a CVS looking for someone to unlock the soap case before I gave up and left,” wrote another person on the East Coast.
“I was at the hardware store last night, and they were completely out of a ton of basic plumbing fittings,” wrote a correspondent in the South. “The restaurants are all understaffed. Nobody can dig a well because they cannot find people to operate the platforms. It’s a mess. In the rural areas around us, businesses advertise job openings calling them twice a month for economic stimulus payments. “
Employers and other producers attribute the shortages to the aftermath of lockdowns, government subsidies to keep people out of work, and now vaccine mandates forcing workers to quit or be made redundant. CNN Reports New Car Shortages Due to Lack of Computer Chips; Coffee; jet fuel due to blockages and lack of tanker drivers; and school supplies.
Forbes notes that this is due to blockages and FUBARing unemployment benefits global supply chains: “The problem is only with shipping containers. They’re stuck in the wrong places with empty containers in ports where they can’t be filled and sent back to ports where they can. This container shortage results in a doubling or tripling of the cost of shipping the product. “
Hospitals everywhere are hungry for employees. The emergency services too. The high gas prices caused by the anti-energy policies of the Biden administration affect everything because everything has to be transported. And this will continue at least until 2022, with prices likely to continue to rise as a result.
“To make matters worse, the costs of shipping containers are increasing dramatically – three to 10 times higher than before COVID – due to demand. Small importers and retailers face limited availability as some large retailers pre-purchase container space in anticipation of the holidays, ”Newsday reports. “… For retailers, the bad news is that they have to buy more products so they don’t run out, but the“ good news is they can charge more ”. “
In other words, people and businesses need to keep stocking, and it helps to know a guy who can get you supplies. Just like people did in the USSR.
Another worrying echo from the USSR is the attempts to enact vaccination blockades that will certainly not stop being entry papers related only to an injection of COVID-19. The goal is for vaccine passports to become a comprehensive social credit system. That the acceptance of socially demanded behaviors can determine access to employment or schooling is another dynamic endemic to communist countries like the USSR and China today.
We don’t want these social or economic systems here. Americans are throwing away the lessons of the atrocities of communism at our peril.
Of course, the full force of National Socialism as it happened in the Soviet Union is much worse than not being able to get your child’s backpack in the color they want or paying twice as much. for milk. But we’re talking about noticing signs that we’re on a path that might end in a very, very dark place. We have to turn around.
Our ruling class maintains beliefs in central planning and secularism that are just as strong and unnatural as those of the Politburo. And they are increasingly imposing poor and middle class lifestyles on the United States that are just as foreign to our freedoms and creativity. It’s up to us to look around those grocery shelves and say, “COVID is no excuse to allow this to happen more. “