In Australia, It's a $1.1 Million Crime to Say Something Bad Against the Carbon Tax

Anyone with the temerity to claim that carbon taxes will increase prices will be held accountable for their grievous thought crimes; to the tune of $1.1 million, so sayeth the Australian government.

A new law goes into effect July 1st, which mandates that: ”If a business claims that a price is linked to the carbon price, that claim must be truthful and have a reasonable basis,” according to ACCC deputy chairman Dr Michael Schaper. Businesses could face a $1.1 million fine if waiters or sales staff “wrongly” blame the carbon tax for price rises or exaggerate the impact. Of course, the definition of “wrongly” is decided by the very people who are imposing the tax upon the public.

The new Orwellian law against carbon tax hate speech will be enforced by roving bands of brigands called “carbon cops” who will conduct spot inspections on businesses to ensure no one is thinking or saying anything they have deemed to be “wrong.”  American’s might have a hard time wrapping their heads around this law, but our own nation has a long and illustrious history of enacting such Orwellian measures.

The most recent law curbing speech in America was enacted by President Obama, which criminalizes protesting anywhere the Secret Service is guarding someone. Previous laws include the Alien and Sedition Acts, which made it a crime to publish “false, scandalous, and malicious writing” against the government or certain officials. As well as the Sedition Act of 1918, which forbade the use of “disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language” about the United States government, its flag, or its armed forces or that caused others to view the American government or its institutions with contempt.

Congress also decided to outlaw any political group from adopting or promoting an extremist belief system for the purpose of facilitating ideologically-based violence to advance political, religious, or social change, under the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007.  While that may sound reasonable, consider that the U.S. government funds itself through the use of coercion. Therefore, if this law was applied to its fullest literal meaning, any political party in the U.S. is engaged in illegal speech.

But let’s take a step back and look at the claim the Australian law is making, which effectively states that carbon taxes will not cause price increases.

Taxes, at their core, result in the redistribution of resources away from those who are engaged in economically productive activities into activities that provide little to no value for society. We can demonstrate this empirically through simple observation. If any given activity is economically productive, it will not require state subsidies. It will not require state subsidies because people will be willing to fund it voluntarily. Restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations, and every other private business is able to fund itself by offering a service or product that the public values. If the public did not value the service or product being offered, they wouldn’t buy it. This market profit/loss test ensures that all resources in the private sector are put to productive uses.

The state on the other hand is a gross destroyer of resources. We know this to be true because everything the state does is funded through the use of coercion. The state does not face a profit/loss test with any of its undertakings, which means there is no way for it to know if it is engaging in economically productive behavior or not. Obviously this leads to the large amounts of resources being wasted.

When resources are wasted, the cost of all goods is increased. If the state bids up the price of steel because it seeks to build a warship, the cost of steel will increase for every private industry that utilizes steel as an input. In this fashion we can plainly see that taking money from the private sector through taxation will always result in increased prices for consumers if the state then spends that money on unproductive activities.

I eagerly await my arrest by the Australian carbon police for my blasphemy.

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Michael Suede

Michael Suede is an Austrian economist and author who holds a business degree from the University of Wisconsin. Michael's articles have appeared in numerous economics publications. Michael is also one of the few economists who is well versed in the economics of voluntary crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin. Michael is a veteran of the US Navy and an advocate of voluntarism. Michael authorizes the use of all his content under Public Domain copyright. Any organization or individual may freely republish, edit, modify and distribute Michael's works without restrictions.

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