|A drip at a time|
Victorian Premier Steve (I-want-to-control-every-aspect-of-your-lives) Bracks
has introduced water rationing in Melbourne for the first time in 20
years. There are restrictions on what you can use water for and when you can
water for certain things. It even states that you must hold a hose when
watering your lawn, as opposed to plugging the hose into a sprinkler. This is
a bit like making Russian citizens stand in bread-lines for hours to reduce the
demand of bread so the government could deny there was a shortage.
Worse still is the Hitler Youth mentality which Bracks is encouraging. People
are encouraged to spy on their neighbors to ensure they only use water for
purposes which the government approves of. Get caught using water for something
else, and the water Nazis will pay you a visit.
This is astonishing in its almost unparalleled stupidity. Does anyone actually
care what their neighbors use water for? Does it matter if their neighbors if
they use a liter of water for flushing their toilet, washing their car or
filling up their swimming pool? No. All that is important is how much they use
- ie leaving enough for others. If water has to be rationed, then ration it,
but let people use their ration for whatever they want.
Steve, there is already a mechanism for measuring people's water use - it's
called a water meter, and there's one in every yard. It's the thing that ticks
when you turn a tap on.
Work out a water quota for everyone, and then let them use that much water. No
need for water Nazis - just use the water meter. If some people choose not to
use their entire quota - let them sell their quota to others who are willing to
pay them for it.
Think this through - everyone will end up at least as well off, and probably
better. They can end up with the same amount of water as they do now, but they
can use that water for whatever they want. Sprinklers were invented for a
reason, Steve - so people didn't waste their time standing there with a hose in
their hand. Some people will even be able to make some money by selling part
(or even all) of their quota.
If some rich buffoon is willing to buy water to fill their swimming pool, then
they can discuss price. If people don't like the price they are offering,
they can choose not to sell it to them. Some people may even effectively get a
negative water bill. The more the shortage of water, the more that the rich
will be willing to pay for extra water.
But this solution is too hard for Steve (but-then-I-won't-control-people) Bracks.
The more obvious the market-based solution is, the more desperately his
government moves towards a discredited socialist solution. Better to use the
tax-dollars to control people's lives, threatening them with water Nazis while
indoctrinating them into believing the government is working toward their
freedoms. It's called 'socially responsible governance'.
Except that everyone ends up worse off.