Lessons From Bulgaria
Posted On April 25, 2019
A Country Left Behind
Bulgaria once served as the great mecca of the Balkans. Its influence stretched from the Mediterranean to the Baltic and Caspian Seas. It managed to fight off Mongolian hordes and Byzantine soldiers alike. The Cyrillic Alphabet, which is now used across much of Eastern Europe, got its start in Bulgaria.
The country survived five-hundred years of Ottoman rule, without losing its unique identity. One thing it could not survive without heavy loss was communism. Many people lack indoor plumbing. Some Villages lack roads.
Green Energy in a Starving Nation
We tend to dwell on the loss of personal liberty that comes with an over-empowered government. But do we consider the loss of economic liberty? As other countries sprouted and grew in the decades following WWII, the USSR and its allies, including Bulgaria, stayed behind. Even now, nearly three decades after the fall of communism, many people lack indoor plumbing. Some villages lack roads.
In this country still faltering under the burden communism left behind, a country where many people struggle to afford basic necessities, the Bulgarian Government went into more than four billion dollars debt to switch to green energy. In 2013 energy costs more than tripled to pay for this economic malfeasance. This increase was mostly due to taxes and fees. The majority of the average citizen’s paycheck now went to living expenses. Those living on minimum wage had to choose between expenses. And yet, the country remained unable to stay afloat.
These factors led to some of the worst protests the nation had ever seen. People took to the streets to demand change. Some people even committed suicide, an act symbolising the death of their economic freedom. To this day, Bulgaria remains among the poorest countries in Europe. If you think about it, it makes sense. How can a people attempting to rise from a fallen political system, and struggling with a debt it did not choose, develop businesses? What upwards mobility do you have when you need to choose between electricity and food?
What We Should Learn
At the end of the day it isn’t laws against personal freedom that hold back Bulgaria. It is instead, a lack of economic freedom. When a government becomes too powerful, its citizens become enslaved to its vices. Bulgarians may technically have more personal freedom than they had under communism, but they don’t have more personal power.
Politicians like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez want to introduce legislation that would make us mirror what happened in Bulgaria. They want a ‘Green New Deal,’ no matter the cost. They would have to levy trillions of dollars in taxes, to pay for it. At the end of the day, we would end up paying for it with our economic freedom.
Andrew Gossage is an editor and writer for NRN. From California, he lived a few years in Bulgaria where he saw the harm big government brings. Gossage has a young family that he loves. Follow him on Twitter @fjordgoose.