Monday, January 22, 2007

Where I Break Ranks With Most Conservatives

There are certain areas of enterprise that really take too much for granted and certain issues that arise where businesses try to get on the public gravy train and both of these things come together from time to time to create a really bad situation for the general public.

I believe in free enterprise. I do not believe that when enterprises become necessary to the public well being or when they are reliant on public resources that they should be given carte blanche to operate as they see fit or to receive undue support or subsidy from the public purse.
If a business becomes a defacto monopoly or dependent on public support or an integral part of the public infrastructure it should be Regulated to prevent abuse and sustain it's commitment the public good.

I include in these categories Banks, Power Utilities, Resource Companies, Financial Services, Water Utilities, Communication and Transportation businesses.

For the most part all of these types of business do fall under some sort of regulation and that's fine by me. In spite of recent moves and pressure from within these industries to de-regulate the fundamental ability of governments to intervene in the market place on behalf of the general public remains. I agree that there should be some quid pro quo for these businesses too.

Where they must submit to regulation that may interfere with their ability to profit or to operate with impunity they should get some support form the public and the regulators to get them over tough times and such. This just makes good sense to me. A little give and take, tit for tat just to balance the landscape and help keep things stable and sustainable for society.

BUT when these same businesses jump on a popular issue in an attempt to leverage public sympathy for an otherwise unwarranted ride on the public funded gravy train ... Well Now! That is where my socialistic tendencies end!

It seems that a recent development in the "Fight Against Climate Change" involves a group of businesses in the USA which include for example Pacific Gas & Electric who have banded together to insist that the Federal Government set "Targets" for carbon emissions.
Well that may SOUND like a sound and public spirited stand. If you first take the view that such Carbon Targets actually need to be legislated or that there is a benefit to the general public from doing so.

That being said I suspect that our newly "Ecologically Aware" enterprises have a slightly different motive. First, that by embracing the Carbon Cap and Carbon Credit ideology they can position themselves to profit from them as per the Kyoto polluting for profit protocol!
Secondly, that if the Feds impose artificial restrictions on their industries they will be in a good postition to argue for some of that "quid pro quo"!

I strongly suspect that this is an opening move of a gambit to pressure government to subsidize their own intransigence and make it possible for them to sustain current levels of revenue while not investing in new technology or greater capacity unless receiving still more subsidy from the taxpayer.

PG&E for example uses mostly Nuclear and Hydro power generation and Natural Gas for most of the rest. They purchase a great deal of it's 'energy' from other states suppliers and energy wholesale channels. They are hopelessly behind the demand curve for energy capacity and have been looking for a way out for a long time.

How better to force the government to jump in than to embrace the popular enviro-ideology?
Jumping on this bandwagon IMO serves only one purpose for this group of businesses and that is NOT environmental stewardship but rather a self interest in getting taxpayers to double up on their subsidy of these enterprises.

Wait and see!

OMMAG

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMMAG, this is Wimpy Canadian.

You are not breaking ranks with conservatives. Read Adam Smith. Everyone cosies up to the government for free money, given an excuse. Adam Smith rails against it.

There is utopia and there is Canada.

1/22/2007 7:11 PM  
Blogger Mac said...

This explains your support for the Wheat Board... but doesn't explain why it's okay for the Wheat Board to only be applied to western provinces...

1/22/2007 9:15 PM  
Blogger PGP said...

Mac ... I never ....repeat ... never said it was ok to apply the CWB rules only to western provinces.

I do support voluntary CWB membership.

I have only said and said so consistently that the CWB needs to be fixed...fix the problems.

In this case I am pointing out that these business entities in the US are are piling on a popular bandwagon to leverage their own position...just more phony environmental hucksters.

1/23/2007 8:01 AM  

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