“I'm from the government and I'm here to help.” Sadly everyone instantly understands the irony in this statement. It’s a classic oxymoron. Today, this statement is far more than a punch line; it represents the two world views that increasingly define nearly every political debate we are having.
Those who don't believe governmental control and regulation are the answer to every problem should be in crisis mode. They simply don't know how to deal with the situation effectively. Proponents of statism – the concentration of economic controls and planning in the hands of a highly centralized government often extending to government ownership of industry – not only understand this but are actively creating these crises in order to advance their agenda.
The credit crisis, housing crisis, global warming, Wall Street, Greece, and the list goes on and on, are all crises that must be dealt with. Once a crisis occurs, whether real or perceived, then government has carte blanche to act.
The worst oil catastrophe in the history of the U.S. certainly qualifies as a real crisis. And, it’s understandable that we need to take action to try and prevent it from happening again. Still, we all know how this will play out.
First, the government will have to assign blame. Every bureaucrat with a big enough title to serve as a fall person is running for cover. Once blame is assigned, government will then act, which translates to addressing far more than the actual problem.
Interestingly, the industry being put under more regulation often will be supportive because it understands that change is inevitable. In the process, it will win concessions that, in effect, raise barriers to entry, thus making the additional costs bearable.
The result is that government gains power and the consumer will end up paying greatly for what amounts to being a negligible reduction in risk.