In Chile, yesterday, the government announced new rules for shopping mall parking prices. First half hour free, always round time periods down, post prices. Wait, I get the second parts, as it’s important to know what you’re going to pay, but really? The government is going to force the malls to offer the first half hour free?
….The state is now spending its scarce pesos tracking gasoline prices across the country and posting them online weekly. Yes, the government tracks every gas station in the country and helps motorists find the cheaper fuel.
….Meanwhile, this is a country where the market failures are omnipresent. Medicine is a good example. A friend yesterday went and got prices for the same contact lenses at her optometrist and at a glasses shop next door. One offered six months of lenses for 130,000 pesos, the other for 290,000. Similar price ranges exist for every aspect of medicine, from drugs to operations to doctors’ visits. And there is nowhere to look up the prices. Point being, if the government wants to support the free market, why start with gas stations?
On the bright side, Chile doesn’t steal foreign oil companies like Argentina, nor does it rack up trillions of dollars in debt like the USA and most of Europe. All governments are evil; it’s merely a matter of choosing the least offensive outrages.