My wife and I live on the Big Island of Hawaii about 15 miles from the nearest town. The only form of transportation in our area is private automobile. (Although, the hippies operate on the slogan “we don’t need oil, we hitchhike.”)
Of course the cost of gas at the town’s station is more than we would like to pay. However, we have had total confidence that when we pull up to the pump we will be able to purchase gas at the prevailing rate. This level of confidence is probably something most Hawaiians don’t even think about. That it is possible on islands 2,500 miles from anywhere for gas to be available even on the smallest islands and in the smallest towns.
After September 1, 2005, this confidence will start to erode for good reason. Our idiotic state legislature has imposed a “Gas Cap” which limits the wholesale price by Public Utilities Commission (PUC) fiat.
If the kleptocrats in the state House were truly concerned with helping the average motorist, instead of demagoguing the issue and increasing their power over business, they could have reduced the state’s 57 cent a gallon tax.
No, that is never an option with Democrats. Since the state is already well known as the most hostile to business in the Union, they must figure adding to the state’s negative reputation isn’t going to be a problem. Notice also that any private business that reaches a certain, undefined, size becomes a “public utility.”
To her credit, Gov. Linda Lingle has always been opposed to the gas cap and tried to have it rescinded:
Gov. Lingle, who unsuccessfully sought repeal of the 2004 law passed by the state Legislature, has said she worries the cap will actually increase prices and create fuel shortages. The governor has the power to suspend the price caps if she determines they would cause a major adverse impact on the economy, public order, or the health, welfare or safety of the people of Hawaii.
Unfortunately, the governor seems determined for the inevitable “adverse impact” to occur before she acts. However, blockhead state senator Ron Menor, “chief architect of the law…is convinced it will lead to lower prices at the pump and should at least be given a chance.” So, there you have it: two hundred years of economic science and experience can be dispensed with because some lawyer is convinced he can suspend Natural Law by legal edict.
There is an excellent article on this issue ”’How To Create a Shortage”’ by economist William Anderson. Anderson is writing directly of Sen. Menor with his closing passage:
”’Legislatures rarely repeal bad laws just as presidents refuse to admit that their military adventures are mistakes. The oil and gasoline price controls of the 1970s began with an executive order in 1971 (as part of Nixon’s “Phase One” wage and price freeze that accompanied the collapse of the Bretton Woods international monetary system), and were around for a decade before they were eliminated. One hopes that Hawaii’s new system will not be in existence that long, but don’t be surprised if legislators continue to ignore the free market and spit into the wind.”’
Instead, Menor and his ilk would rather give the economically impossible “a chance.” Does he work in the statehouse or a gambling saloon?
”’Grant Jones is a contributor to the weblog The 50thstar — see http://50thstar.blogspot.com”’
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