If the California Legislature had helped the Soviet Union with its transition from communism to a market economy, they'd be experiencing their 84th year of "bad weather" wrecking the crops again this year. Instead, only California utilities had a "bad weather" year. The utilities signed on to what was a politically attractive package at the time, and now it turns out they stepped on a rake and the rake has hit them in face. Dog bites man!
It is remarkable that it is this difficult for so many people to grasp the concept of a free market at this point in history. It's never going to get any easier than this.
Only a little over a decade ago the centralized planning of the Eastern Bloc was exposed as having created a squalid, poverty-stricken abyss. Meanwhile, corrupt running-dog lackeys of the capitalist system managed to produce a society in which the poorest Americans have refrigerators, televisions, VCRs, telephones, radios and 67 varieties of orange juice.
But no matter how many good products at low prices capitalism manages to provide, and no matter how spectacular the failures of government intervention are, some segment of the population continually lists toward distributing goods and services on the old Soviet bread-distribution model.
Evidently, the free market is an incredibly counterintuitive concept. People have to be constantly reminded how excellent the market is at distributing goods and services.
The basic idea of a free market is that the consumer and seller enter directly into mutually beneficial transactions. The consumer has the best information about what he wants and how much he is willing to pay; the seller has the best information about what he can provide and what it will cost him. That's how we end up with great stuff like reasonably priced Chia pets in the shape of Jerry Garcia's head.
The government bureaucrats rallying cry is: "Insert a middleman!" They simply cannot shake the conviction that they are in possession of the millions of constantly changing pieces of information that the market processes continually and effortlessly. If we ever let these bureaucrats run free, stores everywhere would run with the smooth Austrian precision of the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Naturally, the California government's solution to a problem created by the government is: more government! California voters ought to say what the Democratic Party is now gently trying to convey to Bill Clinton -- thanks, but you've already done enough.
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