In the ever-expanding files of “politicians and bureaucrats hurt you, deflect blame, deny accountability, and then use your tax cash to give you a beneficent ‘handout,’” the German Finance Minister Christian Linder Saturday said that he was in favor of some form of “energy” handout to citizens.
“German Finance Minister Christian Lindner on Saturday said he was in favor of setting aside a portion of the 200 billion euros in aid approved this week by the German government in order to cushion energy costs.”
Isn’t that sweet?
As the legendary libertarian and economic advisor Harry Brown once said: “Government is good at one thing: It knows how to break your legs, hand you a crutch, and say, ‘See, if it weren't for the government, you wouldn't be able to walk.’”
The push for energy aid comes after decades of German government pander-spending, domestic welfarism, and welfare for the debt-ridden European Union have sunk it and the people who will have to pay its bond obligations into a debt crisis of 2.3 TRILLION Euros (roughly $2.6 trillion, and nearly 70 percent of its total gross domestic product) and year-to-year price increases due to inflation hit 10 percent in September.
"’Our efforts should be directed towards setting aside the 200 billion as far as possible,’ Lindner explained in statements published in Saturday's edition of the 'Rheinische Post' newspaper.”
Which offers clear-minded observers an opportunity to remember fundamental lessons in economics and ethics, and lets folks see that most people running governments not only never learn, they don’t even acknowledge the lessons.
I teach economics and philosophy students that showing respect for others and their property allows for division of labor, which allows for people to do what they do best, to become better at what they do, and provide more for less effort over time.
With their surplus, they will determine ranges for diminishing marginal returns on further effort, and then, rather than keeping that surplus, they'll trade with others for things those others make efficiently, competing, learning, and becoming even more efficient, maximizing the efficiency and living standards of the entire trading group.
For example, ancient people divided labor by seeing the stronger, faster folks hunt, while older people and women stayed near the habitat, working on skins, spears, etc. As ancient Irish Brehon Law shows, even different tribes would trade.
Now -- we might say to the politicians -- imagine if an egotistical maniac came around to tell the folks in these tribes that, to protect trees (even though there are prices attached to tree limbs, let's say, so if they became scarce, people would be incentivized to grow more and import more) the maniac and his gang would handle spear work production and sale, only allowing certain people to produce spears, and controlling the distribution of spears. Even the spears made and sold by far-off tribes would be blocked (or allowed) via this eco-egomaniac, who also takes people's money to fund the management of his imposed system.
Finally, imagine that the eco-egomaniac also blocks one of the most efficient far-off spear-makers, and the locals now have a dearth of spears and are starving.
What's the best way to get people free to acquire more spears? Would that be handing them tax/borrowed money, which will come from those folks or their progeny in the end and drive up the price of spears even more? Would it be by imposing price controls on spears, which would stifle spear production? Or would the best economic and ethical option be freedom to let supply meet demand in a competitive market that soon sees the suppliers work towards efficiency gains to lower prices and improve service?
Thus far, the German government has smothered any real market for energy and, until the last month or so, had embarked on dangerous policy paths such as nationalizing (aka stealing) an energy company (which already had been "regulated to death" by the government), blocking Russian energy (now a certainty due to the evident sabotage of Nordstream I and II) shutting down half of its nuke plants (at some future date, we can discuss the liabilities nuke plants pose for property rights and what would happen if such plants weren’t put in place via government-corporate “partnerships”).
But, while Secretary Linder clings to the foolishness of autocrats retaining control, he does want to adjust that control to allow for a greater supply and fewer taxes laid on the sale of energy.
“The liberal minister was also in favor of expanding the energy supply to lower market prices and keeping the three nuclear power plants still in operation connected to the grid, in addition to the reactivation of at least two more.
Lindner has also proposed developing new sources of gas supply and producing as little electricity as possible from gas. He has also called for a rapid expansion of renewable energies.”
And, in his latter proposals, we see the dark face of hubris once again emerge. It’s not his place to decide for others how they heat and cool their homes, how they cook, wash their clothes, or energize their vehicles. It’s the very mindset of central planning and fear of letting people make their own valuations and spend their money freely with liberated suppliers – it is that mindset that has gotten Germany into a position where people are foraging for wood to burn as heat.
None of this is necessary. It is entirely - ENTIRELY - a result of political forces and the arrogance of people inhabiting the polis that they believe they can, and have a right to, control the choices and lives of others.
We can see that the German “Finance Minister” is trying to change the bad situation, but until people realize that the very concept of a government “Finance Minister” touching the market is anathema to freedom of choice and market liberality, they needlessly will suffer the consequences.