One small suppression of free speech in Australia, one giant leap towards the coming dark age.
Gillard's tame ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) is threatening businesses with million dollar fines if they have pre-carbon tax sales, or blame price increases on the carbon tax.
A few things: First, to non-Australians, the ACCC used to be a service to the country, but I have seen nothing useful done by them since their former chairman Professor Allan Fels retired. Time and again they seem to be refusing to act for the consumer and making lame excuses for not doing so. They aren't anybody's servant, just another tame bureaucracy doing the biddings of their political masters.
Next, this might seem petty. It is far from petty. When this story was reported on Wattsupwiththat.com, a commenter got the entire thing backwards:
The Chairman was quite clear about the organisations’s position in his presentation, which is no different than it has been in the past about any other misleading advertising ... “Business costs increase all the time, and businesses are free to set their own prices. However, if a business chooses to raise their prices they should not misrepresent this as a result of the carbon price when it is not the case.”
Baloney. The cause of a price increase is not a misrepresentation of the same kind as pretending prices have gone down when they went up, for example (which has been happening in Australia with the ACCC as usual doing nothing). And everyone, yes everyone, should have special leeway in commenting on government policy simply because governments are so much more powerful than individuals, or even businesses. If you can't risk being wrong when talking about a government, then you can't risk saying anything. As the writer of the story, Willis Eschenbach, explained to the above commenter:
While you are correct in theory, in reality there’s no way to do what the ACCC suggests. They say that if you want to say that the increase is due to increased carbon costs, you have to get a statement from your supplier that verifies that their increase is due to increased carbon costs.
However, a moment’s thought reveals the problem with that. If a man selling bread wants to make a statement about carbon, he has to get a statement from his baker. For his baker to make that statement, he has to get a statement from his miller, and his electricity supplier, and the man who sells petrol for his bread trucks, and the truck manufacturers where he buys the trucks, and for the increases in phone costs and every other cost.
And each of those, in an endless loop, all have to get statements from the other one. Try this on for size.
If I drive a Ford truck and I sell materials to Ford that they make cars with, they can’t make a statement about carbon without supporting carbon evidence from their suppliers … including me. But I can’t say how much my carbon costs have gone up without the carbon statement from Ford. Cute, huh?
The net results of this chilling regulation will be:
1. The actual costs due to the carbon tax will be underestimated at the business end. Since you can get fined up to a million dollars for exaggeration, every single estimate of the cost will be on the low side. This will no doubt be used to make the claim that the costs are minimal. They are not.
2. Many people will just say “sorry, I don’t have an estimate”, because a) it’s far too much work and hassle to contact every one of their suppliers and ask if they have an estimate, and b) you can get fined if you overestimate. Most folks will wisely say nothing … chilling. Unfortunately, when a supplier says that they have no estimate, what is the retailer to do? He is muzzled, he can’t say anything, because of another man’s inaction.
3. Any tax on energy, direct or indirect, is a much larger drag on the economy than a tax on a finished product. Simple economics, taxing the inputs to a manufacturing process is a greater burden on the economy than the same tax on a finished product. See my discussion in “Firing up the economy, literally“.
So while you are correct in saying this is framed by the Govt as a “truth in advertising” issue, Bulldust, in reality it is nothing of the sort. It is designed specifically to make it very hard to say anything about carbon, with draconian fines. The net result is guaranteed to be a suppression of comment on the carbon issue. I see no reason to conclude that it is accidental that the regulations will have a chilling effect. The regulations have made it a practical impossibility for a businessman to determine the effect of CO2 on the business.
But even this is just the thin end of this wedge. One incident after another, coming so soon after the parliamentary enquiry shamelessly refused to publish anti-tax submissions, we see a pattern forming of increasing disregard for liberty, freedom of speech, freedom of choice, and every other enhancement to living that has given some parts of humanity decent and free lives since the enlightenment. Make no mistake: The era of freedom is drawing to a close. The era of mass control by an elite is dawning.
The elite is a kleptocracy: they have no problem spending your money for their purposes. Al Gore, for example, has no problem buying "carbon offsets" to keep his own life enlightened to an extent that can't be matched by some entire African countries. What is a carbon offset? a payment to someone else NOT to use fuel. Energy makes us rich. Not having energy makes us poor. So Al Gore pays to keep poor Africans poor so he personally can wallow in energy expenditure.
The elite believes in an unholy godless, marxist false religion: humans are bad. Nothing more. Humans are bad. Anything humans do must be bad. Human industry emits plant food, so plant food (CO2) must be bad. Because humans are bad. That is the religion of the marxist robber baron elites now in control of our lives. Overboard? Explain how the US president can publish a proven forged birth certificate and not even have it mentioned in the mainstream media? The media, like the ACCC, is now tamed and supine. Unless people wake up, and wake up very soon, the decay of western civilisation into a new dark age will be irreversible.
Australians, you can start by voting out the worst government this nation has ever suffered, bar none. But much more is needed. The love of truth is needed. The love of freedom, the love of honesty. These we need. Now.