Friday, July 14, 2006

Approved by the Ministry of Fairness

Post-Bolshevik socialists, encumbered by the grim and inconvenient realities of the inherent slavery and destitution of applied Communism, cannot count on the revolutionary fervour of ideology anymore and are driven to substitute instead simple populist stumping. From the London Free Press:

The Ontario New Democrats say drivers are being hosed at the pump and it's time for Queen's Park to step in and regulate prices.

The opposition party brought its campaign for price regulation to London yesterday, where it wasn't hard to find motorists questioning the prices they pay.
At first glance, there would seem to be a conflict between the populism of regulating affordable gasoline prices and the party's other populist plank of carbon-fear environmentalism, signalling an apparent pragmatic departure from strict ideology. But there is no contradiction nor any ideological easing. The burning compulsion of Marxists to seize the levers of material production and exchange are merely smeared with a thin paste of sympathy for drivers, but the proletariat ownership of the means of production is accomplished as readily by putting it under the jurisdiction of bureaucratic whim. The end result of politics driving the engines of supply instead of market demand being, as always, a shortage of supply — and, in this case, the one policy would neatly supplement the other.

According to the Free Press, the NDP's proposed regulations would impose a retail price for gasoline for all stations in Ontario based on market cost of production, "legitimate" transportation costs, the "legitimacy" presumably adding another layer of bureaucratic "expert" determination, and the wonderfully fanciful "fairness to consumers," which in the old days was understood to mean what consumers were willing to pay but which can now be added to the job description of yet another layer of bureaucrats. Once bought off by political concerns, the price would be "locked" for two weeks so that the bureaucrats can take a breather. The system, in other words, would work almost precisely like this (via Freeway to Serfdom):
The owner of a New Brunswick gas station says the province's new system of price regulation has forced him to shut off his pumps.

Stephen Tobias, who owns an Esso station in north-end Saint John and is under contract to buy gasoline from independent wholesaler Wilson Fuels, said he can't afford to sell at a loss. When New Brunswick's gas regulation system took effect on July 1, the province set a maximum price of $1.12 per litre for regular self-serve gas.

Kevin McCann, the New Brunswick sales manager for Wilson, said the regulated price has left virtually no profit margin for retailers, and a loss if customers use credit cards.

"No business model is made around making negative profit, other than if the government runs it," McCann said Friday.
Neatly, then, government-sponsored price-fixing appeases the same regulatory appetite that spurs their environmental fear-mongering, and by sapping Ontario's economy will achieve the politically advantageous effect of a negligible global difference in carbon emission. Huzzah!

Of course, if the NDP were really interested in doing drivers a favour, they would recognize that the most direct and least costly method would be to reduce taxes on gasoline. But the state's bloodletting of wealth is certainly one perquisite of socialist ideology that they'll never give up.
NDP MPP Gilles Bisson joined London-Fanshawe NDP MP Irene Mathyssen in yesterday's campaign pitch, speaking at the closed-down Saddy's gas bar on Wharncliffe Road. Its owner recently bowed out of the business because of wildly fluctuating gas prices.

"There is no competition in the market anymore," said Bisson, MPP for Timmins-James Bay.
So, naturally, we'll reduce the competition to none.


rhebner said...

I think we owe Bob Rae a great big 'thank you'. After his comedy act as Premier I think we are safe from EVER being pillaged by another NDP gov't in this province.

Only a socialist or someone lacking a rudimentary understanding of economics could come up with such an inane idea.

Brent Gilliard said...

People vote for craaaazy things when they're angry.

It doesn't have to make sense. It just has to feel good.

Pietr said...

'Regulating' gas prices means driving the filling stations to bankruptcy and creating a shortage.
This then leads to 'subsidy', which means that the oil companies are controlled by government and everybody has to pay for gas prices whether they like it or not.

Also the subsidy will mean that the railways(currently Canada has the world's sole profitable railway system) are less able to compete and the railfreight system will be destroyed.

This will cause price rises throughout and the extra road transport will cause bigger shortages hence more subsidy.

It's a lose-lose situation.