I Blame The Australian Carbon Tax for Price Increases

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

You likely didn’t realize that the First Rule for the Carbon Tax Club is … nobody talks about the Carbon Tax Club.

And not only that … it could cost the poor Aussies big bucks if they say what I just said about the Carbon Tax Club.

Gotta love totalitarianism in the service of national eco-themed suicide …

From Miranda Devine’s blog at the Australian Telegraph (emphasis mine):

THE whitewash begins. Now that the carbon tax has passed through federal parliament, the government’s clean-up brigade is getting into the swing by trying to erase any dissent against the jobs-destroying legislation.

On cue comes the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which this week issued warnings to businesses that they will face whopping fines of up to $1.1m if they blame the carbon tax for price rises.

It says it has been “directed by the Australian government to undertake a compliance and enforcement role in relation to claims made about the impact of a carbon price.”

Businesses are not even allowed to throw special carbon tax sales promotions before the tax arrives on July 1.

“Beat the Carbon Tax – Buy Now” or “Buy now before the carbon tax bites” are sales pitches that are verboten. Or at least, as the ACCC puts it, “you should be very cautious about making these types of claims”.

There will be 23 carbon cops roaming the streets doing snap audits of businesses that “choose to link your price increases to a carbon price”.

Instead, the ACCC suggests you tell customers you’ve raised prices because “the overall cost of running (your) business has increased”.

So if some Australian business prints up this post, and tapes it to his window … he can be fined up to one megabuck. A million dollar crime.

Eco-terrorism at its finest, where Australia now has criminalized free speech … carbon. A word to conjure with, the name that cannot be spoken.

w.

PS—I think we should have a contest for the best sign within the Aussie law. To open the bidding, I suggest that Australian businesses post a big sign inside their stores that says:

WE ARE NOT ALLOWED TO SAY THAT

THE CARBON TAX IS RESPONSIBLE

FOR OUR PRICE INCREASES.

Sincerely,

The Management

Just stating the facts, y’know …
[UPDATE] From the comments:

Bulldust says:

November 17, 2011 at 2:10 pm

If one visits the ACCC site one can see that Miranda Devine has grossly misrepresented the position of the organisation. The Chairman was quite clear about the organisations’s position in his presentation, which is no different than it has been in the past about any other misleading advertising:

http://www.accc.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/1017300/fromItemId/142

“Business costs increase all the time, and businesses are free to set their own prices. However, if a business chooses to raise their prices they should not misrepresent this as a result of the carbon price when it is not the case.”

“This is not new – the message is simple: if you are going to make a claim, you need to make sure it is right.”

I would suggest that Ms Devine has reading comprehension difficulties, or she is being deliberately misleading. The full guidance brochure can be found here, but the Chairman’s statements sum it up neatly:

http://www.accc.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/1017091

My BS meter went off immediately reading this story… always good to check the source first folks.

Thanks, Bulldust. While you are correct in theory, in reality there’s no way to do what the ACCC suggests. They say that if you want to say that the increase is due to increased carbon costs, you have to get a statement from your supplier that verifies that their increase is due to increased carbon costs.

However, a moment’s thought reveals the problem with that. If a man selling bread wants to make a statement about carbon, he has to get a statement from his baker. For his baker to make that statement, he has to get a statement from his miller, and his electricity supplier, and the man who sells petrol for his bread trucks, and the truck manufacturers where he buys the trucks, and for the increases in phone costs and every other cost.

And each of those, in an endless loop, all have to get statements from the other one. Try this on for size.

If I drive a Ford truck and I sell materials to Ford that they make cars with, they can’t make a statement about carbon without supporting carbon evidence from their suppliers … including me. But I can’t say how much my carbon costs have gone up without the carbon statement from Ford. Cute, huh?

The net results of this chilling regulation will be:

1. The actual costs due to the carbon tax will be underestimated at the business end. Since you can get fined up to a million dollars for exaggeration, every single estimate of the cost will be on the low side. This will no doubt be used to make the claim that the costs are minimal. They are not.

2. Many people will just say “sorry, I don’t have an estimate”, because a) it’s far too much work and hassle to contact every one of their suppliers and ask if they have an estimate, and b) you can get fined if you overestimate. Most folks will wisely say nothing … chilling. Unfortunately, when a supplier says that they have no estimate, what is the retailer to do? He is muzzled, he can’t say anything, because of another man’s inaction.

3. Any tax on energy, direct or indirect, is a much larger drag on the economy than a tax on a finished product. Simple economics, taxing the inputs to a manufacturing process is a greater burden on the economy than the same tax on a finished product. See my discussion in “Firing up the economy, literally“.

So while you are correct in saying this is framed by the Govt as a “truth in advertising” issue, Bulldust, in reality it is nothing of the sort. It is designed specifically to make it very hard to say anything about carbon, with draconian fines. The net result is guaranteed to be a suppression of comment on the carbon issue. I see no reason to conclude that it is accidental that the regulations will have a chilling effect. The regulations have made it a practical impossibility for a businessman to determine the effect of CO2 on the business.

w.

PS—Beyond that, what kind of nanny state is it that tries to keep shopkeepers from making ludicrous claims? Why can’t they say what they want about carbon? At the end of the day the market rules, if they jack their prices too far they’ll lose customers. Who is hurt if they say “20% price rise due to carbon” instead of “20% price rise due to our kids going to college” or “20% price rise due to general business conditions” or “20% price rise due astrological influences”?

Me, I think the Australian consumers are smart enough to look at a sign saying “20% price increase due to carbon tax” and say “I’ll shop next door, they raised their prices 3%”.

So truly … what is the harm to the consumer? For me, that’s government gone mad.

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Steeptown

Freedom of speech rules OK (except in Australia). It’s a good job Obama is over there to sort Julia out.

Jack

Starve our trees Sale.
Don’t Pull MY Finger SALE.

steve fitzpatrick

Talk about stupid and evil. They will be thrown out of office.. next election cycle.

Scott Covert

How about a positive spin…
5% of your purchase price will be donated to the government for the purpose of developing alternative eco-friendly energy alternatives, just let the cashier know if you wish to participate in this program. Just kidding, you don’t have a choice.

More Soylent Green!

It’s for their own good. Who are we to question it? Don’t you know the technocrats have their best interests at heart? Next thing you know, you’re going to imply the carbon tax really has nothing to do with stopping climate change, that it’s all about raising revenue or increasing government power.

Mac the Knife

“The Carbon Tax is XX%.
Our Prices increased by XX%.
You do the math…..
The Management”

Peter Whale

We do not blame the carbon tax for the price increase we blame the government that introduced it. You know the ones who promised not to.

Nylo

I would extend Mac’s sign:
“The Carbon Tax is XX%.
Our Prices increased by XX%.
However the government enforces us to say that this is NOT related to the Carbon Tax.
We will understand if you want to think otherwise, though.
The Management”

Jesse

I’ve Had to Raise My Prices Because…
My Cost of Doing Business Just Went UP.
I’m NOT Allowed to Tell You Why, Because the Government Would Fine Me!!!

Mac the Knife

“There will be 23 carbon cops roaming the streets doing snap audits of businesses that “choose to link your price increases to a carbon price””
Instead of the “SS”, they have deployed the “CC”!!!
Carbon Cop: “Pay zee tax, old man!”
Old Aussie: “I cannot pay the tax…”
Carbon Cop: “Vy can’t you pay zee tax, old man?”
Old Aussie: “Because you have broken both of my hands!”

Jeremy

Frightening, truly.

READ MY LIPS – NO CARBON TAX INCREASES HERE

Bruce Cobb

How about;
Our customers are smart. Smart enough to know why we are forced to raise our prices at this time.

Beesaman

I’d love to see that law tested in court!

Ian George

Yet many families will receive what the government calls a ‘carbon tax compensation package’ to help families cope financially with the carbon tax. So the government have no trouble labelling the ‘goodies’ but not the ‘baddies’. They have obviously designed this policy so that people can not judge whether the compensation package matches the price increases from the tax.
In NSW, the Coalition government claimed they would display the carbon tax impost on individual electricity bills but have been warned by the Federal govt they would be in breach of the legislation.

Tamara

Proton-deficient Nitrogen Tax Sale?

Nylo

Or: “The carbon tax increases our costs by X%. We are increasing our prices by X% as well, but this is NOT due to the carbon tax, but because of the general increase in our costs, is it clear?”.

sherlock

A Government by Watermelons, for Watermelons, so that Watermelons can enjoy the taxes of the people, without accountability to the people.

lucien

Dear customer
I have inreased my price recently
The carbon tax is not responsible (at all) for my price stability !
You can then plead a little logic’s mistake

Dr A Burns

Brown has turned Green into Red.
(Bob Brown is leader of the minority Green party which controls the balance of power in Oz federal politics. Brown has manipulated PM Julia Gillard into forcing the Carbon Tax through. He has stated that he believes in a single global socialist government)

bubbagyro

Holy crap! This is Australia, not North Korea? Holy crap…

bubbagyro

Do you hef a petroleum engineer hiding here in your attic? Liar! (Slap, slap). Let me zee your papers!

Dayday

Due to Global Warming the price of heating your home as gone up.

Johanus

It appears that our carbon flatulence is the new Original Sin. The Good News is that we can be forgiven by merely purchasing indulgences from the Almighty Government. You don’t even have to Believe. Just pay up and your sin is forgiven.
Hallelujah!

Christopher Hanley

What makes this doubly outrageous is that the tax was specifically ruled out by the leader of the now governing party just prior to the last election:

Steve from Rockwood

Any they keep sending those carbon ships (full of coal) to Asia…
Less than 1/3 of Australians would re-elect Gillard.
We had a compensation package here in Ontario after our electricity prices went up 18%. The compensation in the form of a clean energy rebate (they ARE clever aren’t they) was 10% and came in the form of a cheque just before an election.

TimH

Dear Customer, we are not… repeat not… raising our prices due to the new carbon tax.
We are, unfortunately, raising prices due to the rising cost of everything.
The Management.
p.s. Please join us for our “Don’t hold your breath”… “sale”. If you see our staff saying “sale” using the air-quotes gesture… that’s because it’s not really a sale, but in fact a brief period of lower prices

wouldrathernotsay

How about:
My prices have gone up because our government is trying to lower the earth’s temperature by 0.0006 Degrees Celsius.
No mention of a carbon tax 🙂

Gary

If every business would simple double it’s prices and say that the “cost of doing business has gone up” without reference to the reason, the public will get the idea soon enough. But everybody has to do it and not undercut each other. It’s a variation on the old union “sick-out” ploy to make management’s shenanigans cost them dearly.

John Levick

I gotta think this could be challenged in court.

mkelly

I would urge all persons to tell the truth. If the tax caused you to raise your price say so. It cannot in any logical trial be illegal to tell the truth. Swearing to tell the truth is the basis of all civil laws.
By the way I would think Australia has a law the makes it illegal to lie to a law enforcement officer so if you are asked that question by an enforcement officer what should you say?
Bastiat noted the problem of having do to what is moral and what is legal long ago. Do what is moral.

CodeTech

I thought 1984 was supposed to be a cautionary tale…
Not an instruction manual!

Matt in Houston

Dear customers,
The government says we must raise our prices but we are not allowed to tell you why under threat of severe fines. We suggest you ask them why yourselves.
Sincerely,
The management
Lord Monckton is proving to be more and more correct with his treatment of the greens. Remember that we skeptics are the enemy. I sincerely believe we are approaching WWIII with a threshold of no escape rapidly approaching and criminals, scoundrels & morons are steering the ships into the iceberg after watching the Titanic sink. The glimmer of hope I have for the near future is growing terribly dim.
Perhaps I need a rum and coke.

lgp

Just post what they suggested
“raised prices because the overall cost of running the business has increased”
and promote “clean energy future” sales

Monroe

The real shame will lie in the months and years ahead. In BC we also have an ever increasing “Carbon Tax” and the funds go, like any good slush fund, to promote things “green”. Like a huge chunk of money to send kids to school to study ways of stopping BC from moving forward. It’s worse than shooting ones self in the head. We load the pistol, give it to our kids and have them do it. They have little choice because thats why they went to school !

Dave

Customer: Why is the price higher than last week?
Business: What price, it isn’t higher.
Customer: Yes it is look at this add from last week.
Business: Oh that was a printing error.
Customer: You mean it has nothing to do with the new Carbon Tax?
Business: What tax, its just the cost of doing business.
Customer: Silly me I’ll take it!

WTF

Our prices have recently increased due to Government mandated input costs of a trace gas essential to life on earth. Please direct complaints to…………
h/t to the dailybayonet.com

Matt in Houston

PS- I almost forgot- my coke supply is pre-WWF (Worthless & Wretched Fund) save the polar bear non-sense. Coke is off my grocery list until they can that garbage.

Dave

The ACCC helpfully suggests you can just tell your customers you’ve raised prices because “the overall cost of running (your) business has increased”.
It’s all very Orwellian. It’s the tax whose name cannot be spoken.

jorgekafkazar

Communo-Fascism. Which is where all of this has always been aimed, as many have noted here and elsewhere. Did anyone seriously doubt that political action based on lies would result in suppression of basic freedoms? Didn’t the 10-10 video reveal the Warmists ultimate agenda? Doesn’t socialism always end in murder?
“…I must say that I think we owe [Stalin] a debt of gratitude! For the wonderful example he has given the whole world of the axiomatic truth that Communism always leads to dictatorship.” –CG Jung Speaking, pg 131
Socialist regimes killed over 120 million in the 20th Century–twenty Holocausts. Would any sane person ask for another Socialist experiment?
reference: http://www.sciforums.com/The-socialist-communist-death-toll-so-far-t-25006.html

Latitude

You voted them in…..

Bill Marsh

You need to add a disclaimer to the bottom of the sign that says
“So we aren’t saying that our prices are increasing because of the Carbon Tax …. really.”
If you have that disclaimer they can’t fine you.

More Soylent Green!

Ian George says:
November 17, 2011 at 12:24 pm
Yet many families will receive what the government calls a ‘carbon tax compensation package’ to help families cope financially with the carbon tax. So the government have no trouble labelling the ‘goodies’ but not the ‘baddies’. They have obviously designed this policy so that people can not judge whether the compensation package matches the price increases from the tax.
In NSW, the Coalition government claimed they would display the carbon tax impost on individual electricity bills but have been warned by the Federal govt they would be in breach of the legislation.

Our government made the same claims with the cap-and-trade proposal. The money collected would be used by the government to provide more services to the people. We should be happy to be taxed!

Malcolm Miller

This is horrifyng stuff. It’s bureaucracy gone mad with power. We are going to have to blame it all on the Greens and make sure they never have such power in our Parliament ever again. Gillard is a dead duck.

Rob Z

Willis says: “……. Australia now has criminalized free speech” Strange to think it wasn’t so many years ago that Australia had criminals with free speech.

“pre xxxxxx xxx sale”
“Our prices have increased due to the xxxxxx xxx”

John F. Hultquist

Insofar as there is no shortage of coal in Australia, I suggest those companies involved in that industry from miners to final users package the fine coal dust they have to deal with. Use clear glass containers and label it as sequestered carbon. Every retail sale should come with one of the containers with advice to keep it and pass it on like a family heirloom. Should they not wish to keep it, I’m sure the inventive Aussies can think of other possibilities for its disposal.
This plan keeps the issue constantly displayed while being supportive about the evil government’s revenue raising non-climate impacting tax that no way no how causes costs to increase. I’m sorry, did I write ‘evil’? I’m probably not allowed to say that either. Where’s my thesaurus? Looking for something better now . . .

Mark

Pricing notice:
(This page intentionally left blank.)

Rich

Dear Customer,
Under threat of a $1.1 million dollar fine from the government we are not aloud to say that recent price increases are due to the carbon tax.
So it is purely coincidence that our price rise occured when the carbon tax came into force. If you are unhappy with the recent price increase please email julia.gillard@pm.gov.au.
Yours Sincerely,
Management.

barking toad

I’m already advising clients that the cost of preparing tax returns and financial reports will increase because of the costs imposed by this tax on plant food. Electricity, stationery, software support – everything will have an increase and it will be passed on to every business and then to the end users – the consumers,
The net 20 cents per week compensation that the idiot government crows about ignores most of the the real cost increases.
And the impact on the weather – SFA!