Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Kevin Rudd - old fashioned authoritarian

I am not a partisan person when it comes to politics. I owe no party any loyalty, and would just as soon vote for the ALP if they understood economics and showed an appreciation of free markets as the only reason prosperity and wealth have grown.

Kevin Rudd is campaigning on the slogan "Fresh Thinking". If he is actually thinking of ideas, then they certainly aren't fresh. Lets get one thing straight. Kevin Rudd may win based on his fresh "face" and being different to Howard. But the ideas and policies he supports are old fashioned central planning that see a greater role of government meddling in the free market.

He has pledged to establish, literally, dozens of new bureacracies and departments, to spend $4.7billion of public funds on broadband, to continue with tariffs on clothing imports, to regulate and investigate prices on groceries and petrol, to increase the regulation on workplaces, and last but not least, regulate every single household and business to reduce their C02 output and levy taxes on emissions.

These ideas are not fresh. They have been tried countless times in recent history, by people far more charismatic, powerful, intelligent and articulate than Kevin Rudd. From Stalin, Mao, Castro and other rulers in the communist block, to today's socialist world leaders such as Tony Blair followed by Gordon Brown in the UK, Sarkozy in France, Zapatero in Spain and other European leaders, but even conservative world leaders such as George Bush, Stephen Harper and John Howard all dabble in central planning and heavy regulation of the economy, and an increasing amount of tax and property collected by the state.

These policies cause havoc. They have nothing to do with the man behind the wheel. Kevin Rudd may be a nice guy, but his ideas are doomed to fail, hurt people and destroy wealth.

The Daily Reckoning summarizes it succinctly:

Last week, China signaled that it wanted to control inflation in the worst way possible. Then, it announced: Henceforth essential prices will be set by party officials, rather than the marketplace. In effect, China is bailing out its economy in the worst possible way. Price controls are used by desperate governments from time to time. From Emperor Diocletian to Richard Nixon to Robert Mugabe, politicians have succumbed to temptation; rather than listen to the market, they decided to do the talking. In every instance, the results were the same – the economy was twisted in a painful and grotesque way. Typically, prices were held down to artificially low levels, in order to appease political groups. Supplies disappeared – blackmarkets, hoarding, market disruptions… one absurdity followed another.

Price controls don’t work – as the Soviet Union discovered – because they mislead people. Producers over-produce… or produce too much of the wrong thing and too little of the right thing. Consumers over-consume; investors put their money into the wrong places… at the wrong time.