Last week, I posted that Jon Stossel was explaining how price increases, called ‘gouging’ by people who don’t understand the law of Supply and Demand, are a part of economics, and a good thing. If you read the comments, he was called greedy, and pretty much any other insulting name you can think of. Then public outcry and complaints silenced him when Fox pulled the article.

Then Irma approached Florida, where authorities reminded residents that  increasing prices during an emergency is illegal, provided a “price gouging” hotline where people can turn in merchants for raising prices, and proved him right.

There is no fuel to be had within 30 miles of my house, according to the fuel app, Gas Buddy. It’s so bad the people fleeing the Hurricane are running out of gas while being stuck in the traffic of the mad dash away from its path. Whenever fuel does get delivered to a station, there is immediately a long line of people, who buy it all within an hour or two in a panic buying frenzy. I saw a man yesterday pull in and buy almost 400 gallons of gasoline. (He had a fuel tank on the back of his flatbed pickup, and was pulling a trailer with a fuel tank on it. Likely a farmer)

If price gouging laws were not in effect, gasoline would likely be around ten or more dollars a gallon right now. That’s a good thing. Why? Because it would be VERY expensive to buy more fuel, which would cut down on people buying unneeded fuel for hoarding. More fuel would then be available for those who need it. Sure, Florida can claim that they stopped hoarding, but now there is no fuel for anyone at any price.

The same thing is happening with bottled water, plywood, batteries, food and other supplies. There is no bottled water to be had anywhere. People began offering water for sale on Amazon at $100 a case. Complaints rolled into the hotline, and Amazon pulled the listing. Now there isn’t any water there, either. You showed them! They won’t make money off of our disaster! Of course, people who have water now don’t have an incentive to sell to those with a higher need, and now there is no water available at all, but at least the marked prices are reasonable…

EDIT: I just checked, and if you order water on Amazon at the regular price now, it will arrive at your door on September 21. At least the $100 water was for next day delivery.

Categories: Uncategorized


Anonymous · September 8, 2017 at 6:29 pm

"We are working around the clock to get fuel to you," [Governor Scott] said during an afternoon news conference. "We are laser-focused on how to get as much fuel to our ports."

Golly! If only there were some self-adjusting system of distributed computation which would tend to direct goods to where they were wanted the most.

Suppose a government employee imposed some policy which is contrary to a well-functioning free market. Could be "price gouging", rent control, banning intoxicants, can't carry handguns into gay nightclubs with bars, whatever. Then suppose some merchant decided to ignore that bad law and practice free trade. Suppose armed government employees showed to stop him. Then suppose the merchant drove off those government employees by force, and announces he will drive off any other government employees who choose to make war against him. Now suppose some third party comes by and helps the armed government employees. That person is an accessory to the government's crime.

I'm sure you wouldn't argue that a law is morally valid merely because it enjoys broad public support and is administered by a republican form of government with an executive, legislative, and judicial branch. Because then you would be agreeing it was morally valid for the Nazi government to gas the Jews.

An accessory is a person who assists in the commission of a crime, but who does not actually participate in the commission of the crime as a joint principal. The distinction between an accessory and a principal is a question of fact and degree


Elements / In some jurisdictions, an accessory is distinguished from an accomplice, who normally is present at the crime and participates in some way. An accessory must generally have knowledge that a crime is being, or will be committed. A person with such knowledge may become an accessory by helping or encouraging the criminal in some way. The assistance to the criminal may be of any type, including emotional or financial assistance as well as physical assistance or concealment.

Borepatch · September 8, 2017 at 7:15 pm

There's nothing that the government can't screw up.

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