Oh, the usual one.
Via Insty (actually guest blogger Ed Driscoll), Erika Johnson notes that the sun rises in the east. Yes, it’s really that surprising. Because the State of New Jersey is shocked, shocked I tell you, at the wickedness of price gouging.
The defendants, seven gas stations and a hotel, are accused of hiking their prices from 11 to 59 percent in the days after the storm.
First…is 11% really “gouging”? New Jersey’s always bragging about its toughness, but a 1/9th Hurricane Fee is like having flesh ripped out of the body? I’d call that more of a “paper cut” or “mild abrasion”. Listen, whiners: it’s not a gouging until a numeral precedes “x”, x being the normal price. So, if the cost of this essential doo-dad…
…suddenly “spiked” to 3x, 5x, or 20x? That’s a gouging.
“You want $500 for a Cove Base?! You’re gouging me!” “Well, if you can’t beat them…”
My parents encountered some weather-related profiteering themselves, once. They didn’t like it. I don’t care for naked opportunism either, but please note that we survived Camille just fine. During an emergency people should be communists: from each according to his ability, to each according to his need. Nobody corners the commodities market while others starve.
But afterwards? We’re all out of danger, but also tired and miserable and bored? When merchants arrive they’re free to set their prices as they’d like. You’re free to bargain over it, take it, or leave it.
I think that’s why it’s called a free market.
And of course the “gouging-defenders” are right. The free market is superior even if customers are despondent or angry. Complain about prices, fine. But let the buyers dictate prices? The sellers will just up and leave. Then crybabies like these Jersey jerks go from having bad choices to no choices.
Which is where America’s health care is heading.
What’s the diff between profiteers and pols, then? Just my entire Political Philosophy: freedom. Increasingly we purchase whatever the government tells us, and at whatever price. “It’s okay,” the Ruling Class soothes, “we’re improving health-care quality and lowering its cost.”
This tells you all you need to know about how stupid they think you are…and how stupid they actually are. They believe you’re too stupid to know a good deal when you see one or take it if you do. They feel they’re smarter than free market businesses that constantly seek to lower costs for pure survival.
They feel smarter even as what they do fails in the same exact fashion as every other command economy has wrecked every other free market, in every economy and culture and time.
Hey, “gouging” victims? I know why it’s anger-inducing. The vendors exploit a temporary monopolistic advantage. You know that prices will fall when competitors arrive.
What’s hilarious is that, for help against a transient monopoly…you turn to government. So… consortium disaster vendor, bad. Monopolistic all-encompassing cradle-to-grave Big Brother, good!
Congrats, whiners. You are the only folks ever dumber than holier-than-thou government.