The reductio ad absurdum of government involvement in the economy

Here’s Hillary announcing her desire to use government force to steal (there’s no other word for it) oil company profits:

And in Zimbabwe, we can see what what happens when Hillary’s mindset — that government should take over the market — becomes the only game in town:

Robert G. Mugabe has ruled over this battered nation, his every wish endorsed by Parliament and enforced by the police and soldiers, for more than 27 years. It appears, however, that not even an unchallenged autocrat can repeal the laws of supply and demand.

One month after Mr. Mugabe decreed just that, commanding merchants nationwide to counter 10,000-percent-a-year hyperinflation by slashing prices in half and more, Zimbabwe’s economy is at a halt.

Bread, sugar and cornmeal, staples of every Zimbabwean’s diet, have vanished, seized by mobs who denuded stores like locusts in wheat fields. Meat is virtually nonexistent, even for members of the middle class who have money to buy it on the black market. Gasoline is nearly unobtainable. Hospital patients are dying for lack of basic medical supplies. Power blackouts and water cutoffs are endemic.

Manufacturing has slowed to a crawl because few businesses can produce goods for less than their government-imposed sale prices. Raw materials are drying up because suppliers are being forced to sell to factories at a loss. Businesses are laying off workers or reducing their hours.

6 Responses

  1. Yikes!

    Keep talking like this, BW, and you’re going to discover what you’ve always been, deep down inside….a (small “l”) libertarian!!

    Welcome.

  2. One need not look all the way to Zimbabwe to see the problems with nationalized oil. One of Mexico’s problems (though they won’t see it as such) is nationalized oil. The Mexican populace feels so strongly about their nationalized oil that they insisted it be included as a carve-out in NAFTA (a treaty that is not as bad as people think).

    One report I read a short time ago was that, even with the record profits Big Oil has seen over the last few years, those profits just reach about 10% over cost. If that report is true, then Big Oil, even now, is not receiving as much a profit as many other industries. Nationalizing Oil for being more profitable than before really makes little sense, and lends credence to the hypothesis that Hillary is a political opportunist who runs with what looks like a popular story.

  3. OK- here’s a question: how well would a presidential candidate fare today if he/she made it a central part of their campaign to promote policies designed to make the economy boom…and what would those policies be? Lower taxes on gasoline, lowering or removal of corporate income taxes?

  4. Big Oil rakes in 68 billion dollars of profit, and our minds reel at the scale of the numbers. Such a number can only mean that the American people are being brutalized by the rich fat cats.

    I believe the problem is that our brains cannot comprehend large numbers in a systematic way. This is a country of 300 million people, and I myself am continually staggered at the scale of the economics involved. EVERYTHING is huge. It’s difficult to comprehend the sheer scale of the customers being served, the employees who work in all capacities, the money being invested and simply spent in daily operations… and the eventual revenue and profit.

    When you look at the industry on its mammoth scale, and try to comprehend that in every way it is that huge, then you start to see that the near-gleeful reporting on the billions of profits does end up with the realization that a 10% profit margin is actually not large at all. But the profit number itself staggers us every time.

    Also, we NEED oil every day. We’re sensitive to any daily fluctuation in its price. We daily experience the money draining out of our wallets. You can almost always correlate presidential approval ratings with any recent changes in the cost of gasoline at the pump.

  5. Re-reading Atlas Shrugged as I am…that little speech of Hillary’s stands out to me in a way it wouldn’t have a month ago.

    Jeebus.

    I generally consider Ayn Rand’s characters to be exaggerations of whatever ideal or pathology she’s trying to describe. They’re frequently one-dimensional and, though I like the stories, the characters aren’t very believable.

    Then I watch Ms. Clinton delcare oil company profits hers to distribute as she sees fit. Since she wraps it in the ‘common good’, her followers fawn at her feet. Why can’t they see it? Why is it SO obvious to me…yet apparently occupies such a large blind spot among many on the left?

  6. Humans have always percieved things differently than other humans. Human nature.

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