Tuesday, May 27, 2008

One Small Step Toward Totalitarianism

Actually, not such a small step. “Conservative”* British MP Tim Yeo proposes carbon rationing. Every adult in Britain would be issued a card and fixed amount of carbon, which would be deducted by purchasing gasoline, airline tickets, heating fuel, etc., etc., etc.

Theoretically, if you didn’t use up all of your credits, you could sell them on the open market to someone who needed more.

The government would have total control over how many carbon credits would be made available to its subjects. Nowhere is it mentioned that taxes of any sort would be reduced to offset this new and substantial burden.

Laying aside the endless possibilities for corruption, rent seeking, political favoritism and double dealing on a scale that would make the Oil for Food folk blush, the government is essentially saying that they are going to choke off economic activity at a level they deem wise.

Furthermore, the charges for certain purchases are subject to government whim as well, so as personal auto travel falls further out of favor – and all bureaucrats hate the notion that people can get in a car and go anywhere they want, whenever they want – expect the charges for gasoline to go up substantially.

Except, of course, for government employees using vehicles on “official business”.

There are substantial additional costs to this as well – the state will have to track everyone’s carbon allowance, purchases, and trading. Steps will have to be taken to prevent fraud and counterfeiting. Police will be required to investigate and arrest those accused of trading in black market energy.

Expect audits of personal energy use to attempt to catch anyone trying to buck the system. Do you really want Inland Revenue or the IRS to monitor your energy usage? Or for that matter, keeping records of when and where you purchased petrol, or cross referencing that data with National Health Service to see if you’ve been behaving in a risky manner?

The market maker in the carbon-trading scheme stands to make sizeable guaranteed profits in transaction fees. The owners of those firms will essentially be given a government license to print money.

This is a proposal for the State to control the smallest details of everyone’s life, down to the wattage of the light bulbs in their state approved one room apartment.

* Keep in mind that not only do British “Conservatives” want to exercise totalitarian control over your energy usage, but they also want to deny you healthcare if you are overweight or smoke. This is a conservatism that Stalin would heartily endorse.