Posts tagged ‘Government Code’

Why Communism Always Devolves Into Heavy-Handed Authoritarianism

Every time one points out a historic failure of communism (most recently, for example, in Venezuela), Marxists will argue "well, that is not true communism."  Somehow they think that communism without heavy-handed exercise of state power is possible.  It is not.

Here is the latest example, from our own peoples' republic in California.  For reasons that are simply beyond me, no one in California wants to use market mechanisms and the power of prices to match supply and demand for water.  We use these market tools successfully in pretty much every other market, but not in water.  The result is that increasingly heavy-handed exercise of government power is necessary to match supply and demand.

Senate Bill 606 establishes a “governing body” to oversee all water suppliers, both private and public and will require extensive paperwork from those utility companies.

Assembly Bill 1668 is where it gets personal.  This establishes limits on indoor water usage for every person in California and the amount allowed will decrease even further over the next 12 years.

The bill, until January 1, 2025, would establish 55 gallons per capita daily as the standard for indoor residential water use, beginning January 1, 2025, would establish the greater of 52.5 gallons per capita daily or a standard recommended by the department and the board as the standard for indoor residential water use, and beginning January 1, 2030, would establish the greater of 50 gallons per capita daily or a standard recommended by the department and the board as the standard for indoor residential water use. The bill would impose civil liability for a violation of an order or regulation issued pursuant to these provisions, as specified.

If you’re wondering how the government would know how much water your family is using, the utility providers will be obligated to rat you out of face massive fines. And they’re encouraged to spy in all sorts of creative ways. They “shall use satellite imagery, site visits, or other best available technology to develop an accurate estimate of landscaped areas.”...

If you don’t plan to comply it’s going to be way cheaper to move. Here are the fines Californians will be looking at – and it’s not a typo – these fines are PER DAY.

(1) If the violation occurs in a critically dry year immediately preceded by two or more consecutive below normal, dry, or critically dry years or during a period for which the Governor has issued a proclamation of a state of emergency under the California Emergency Services Act (Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 8550) of Division 1 of Title 2 of the Government Code) based on drought conditions, ten thousand dollars ($10,000) for each day in which the violation occurs.

(2) For all violations other than those described in paragraph (1), one thousand dollars ($1,000) for each day in which the violation occurs.

All of this could easily be replaced with the simple expedient of allowing the price of water to rise until supply and demand matched, a solution that works for everything else and would provide the added benefit of giving financial incentives to seek out new sources of water.  If they are worried about prices for the poor, then they can have a subsidized rate for the first X gallons and then a market rate above that.  There are at least two reasons I think politicians don't do this, beyond just their socialist assumptions and distrust in markets

  1. The people who would most be hurt by market pricing for water -- farmers, golf course/resort owners, etc -- have a lot of political pull in the state and would prefer a regime where high-value uses are curtailed to save water for their potentially lower-value uses.  Just look at the carve-outs in the law for swimming pools, water features, and golf courses.
  2. Politicians like rationing, or more accurately they like being the rationers.  You can't generate political contributions from market pricing of water. But if you are the person doing rationing, then everyone is going to come to you and try to curry favor.

The simplest way to explain why Marxism fails is "incentives and information" -- planned economies shift economic decision-making from individuals who have the information and incentives to make the proper tradeoffs for their own set of circumstances and preferences and on to politicians whose main incentive is to see who is willing to do the most to curry favor with them.