Government Subsidies Cause Bigger Problems than the Ones They Were Intended to Solve
The Los Angeles Times is reporting that
Sales of newly built U.S. homes collapsed in May, falling to a record low and stirring concerns among some economists that the housing market would stumble again now that a popular federal tax credit for buyers has expired.Some of you may have just had a feeling of deja vu. Why? The same thing happened to the automobile market after the Cash for Clunkers program ended last fall:
The auto industry staggered through September, suffering from a massive cash-for-clunkers hangover that left sales down 41% compared with clunker-fueled August.Neither of these collapsing sales events was a surprise to people who were paying attention. Who caused the roller coaster problem? Government did--while it was trying to fix another problem.
"I've been in the auto business for 39 years, and I've never seen a roller-coaster year like this," says Ken Czubay, Ford's vice president of marketing, sales and service.
It is too bad that very few people, including government bureaucrats, seem to understand the relationship between government subsidies and the economic problems that such subsidies cause.
What happens when automobile sales plummet? Automobile dealers need less people in their sales forces. People lose their jobs. People lose their homes. People lose their families. It's just as bad when the government wrenches the housing market to and fro by either its loose monetary policy or its incentives to people to purchase fallow homes, many of whom can't afford the houses in the first place.
I have friend who was successful for years in the construction trades. He is currently flipping pizzas at a local pizza joint. He is not quite able to make his house payment on a pizza maker's income. It's a good thing he has a savings account.
Why is my former home builder/current pizza maker friend making pizzas? The government cost my friend his construction job by its stupid subsidy policies. Government subsidies create their own boom and bust cycles. In fact, the federal government has been the primary cause for most booms and busts throughout American history.
Wouldn't it be nice if the federal government stuck simply to what it was authorized to do by the United States Constitution?