It’s not often that PVO and I agree on economic issues:
But then this week we read all about planned government intervention when it came to the remuneration of bank executives — keeping in mind that, unlike some nations where a version of this has occurred, Australian banks are wholly publicly owned and listed on the stock exchange and haven’t been bailed out by government.
Next it was Malcolm Turnbull sitting down (again) with the heads of energy companies, dictating how they should run their businesses. They were told to write to customers outlining how cheaper prices could be obtained. Remind yourselves this is a Liberal government, in name at least, if not in nature. Yet it wears hypocrisy without a hint of shame when attacking Shorten for being a socialist.
It’s not as though this was the first week we’ve seen a supposedly Liberal government drift towards government intervention in the marketplace. Toying with a new government-owned coal-fired power station as the way of the future isn’t merely economically stupid, it is anathema to what a market liberal party should consider.
Don’t forget the Emissions Reduction Fund is still government policy. Paying companies to reduce emissions rather than using a market mechanism — that sounds a lot like socialism to me. Oh, and don’t forget the much vaunted government enterprise Snowy Hydro 2.0.
Throw in the $22 billion in new taxes outlined in this year’s budget, followed up by a bank levy any anti-capitalist organisation would be proud of (it was Greens policy long before Scott Morrison implemented it), and it’s no wonder traditional supporters of the Liberal Party are looking elsewhere to park their votes.
When stated like that things do really look bleak. Two quibbles.
- So-called market mechanisms to address global warming remain socialist tools. Artificial markets remain artificial irrespective of the attempts of socialists to make them markets.
- Adam Smith’s test for intervention in the economy is an activity that benefits a great society but cannot be profitably undertaken by the private sector. From recent experience that must include the provision of cheap and reliable electricity. The fact of matter is that Greenist mob intimidation and violence has created a situation where the private sector cannot or will not provide new coal powered power stations. The government having failed to enforce the rule of law is now faced with having to provide the power.