The Grasshopper And The Hula Dancer

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Another natural disaster, another lesson in why politicians shouldn’t attempt to meddle in economics. Some hypothetical examples to consider:
A hurricane is coming. You have failed to stock up. The store has bottled water. You want bottled water. How much should you pay for it?

Suppose the store says, “Sorry, that water is not for sale at any price, we’re saving it for after the hurricane because we know resupply will be impossible. We won’t sell to hoarders.” Should the store be allowed to refuse to sell to you?

Suppose you say to the store clerk, “I know it’s not for sale, but I’ll give you $100 per bottle for it.” Is it still price gouging if the store isn’t charging a higher price but instead is accepting bribes on the side?

Suppose the store says, “We just sold our entire inventory at the usual price, that guy over there bought it all. Talk to him about buying some of his private supply.” How much should a private citizen be allowed to charge for the supplies he thoughtfully laid in before the disaster came?

Suppose nobody is willing to sell you water for the .99 per bottle you formerly paid for it. Does that justify you taking their bottles, by force?

The entire basis for the science of economics is the study of scarcity and the best way for society to respond to it. Okay, politicians, here you go: scarcity is coming. How should we respond? What have 5,000 years of human history taught us?
Apparently, in Hawaii, the answer is: “absolutely nothing.”

Joe Doakes

If “progs” understood economics, they wouldn’t be progressives.

8 thoughts on “The Grasshopper And The Hula Dancer

  1. Clearly, Hawaii needs to update all copies of “The Ant and the Grasshopper.” The corn saved by the ant is confiscated by the State and stored in a warehouse for later distribution at affordable prices. Meanwhile, winter arrives and the warehouse is isolated by deep snow. Corn distributors are unable to reach it and soon after, everyone, ants and grasshoppers, starves to death. Moral of the story: what seems affordable now may later prove to be unobtainable.

  2. The most fundamental rules of economics declare that price increases with scarcity and supply increases with price. This works well most of the time – but there is another rule of social interaction which dictates that force (violence and calls for government action) increases as scarcity threatens health and security.

    It doesn’t matter whether someone neglected to save corn for the winter, when winter comes they are going to take it if they can.

    There is a lesson in this for RINO Republicans.

    When you artificially create scarcity in the medical industry by listening to lobbyists rather than to people who see the availability of affordable care and drugs in other counties, don’t bitch and complain about “the free market” when they start howling for “single payer” and jumping across the border to buy medications.

    When we see things like Epipens going from $100 to $700 in five years – but available for $75 in Europe (but you can’t bring them here), expect torches and pitchforks.

  3. I agree with Greg. The problem with many #NeverTrumpers is that they no longer believe that the legitimate purpose of the American state is to govern a free people, it is to promote free trade, usury, and increasingly arcane ideas of “property rights.” They’ve gone from “America is a nation based on an idea” to “America is only an idea.” When I look out my window, I don’t see an idea, I see America.
    People don’t vote GOP to immanentize the burkean eschaton.

  4. The new Republican base consists of a wealth-concentrating donor elite, traditional Republican anti-tax and small government members of the middle class, and a highly energized combination of fundamentalists and blood-and-soil nationalists. For now, Trump is some sort of “glue” holding this coalition together. This coalition will pick all future Republican presidential nominees and many congressional and senate candidates. They are not going to coalesce around Mitt Romney in 2020 (despite this man’s many delusions).

    This new Republican coalition will probably lose presidential elections and wind up in the minority in both the Senate and House, but the calculation (by hard-eyed strategists) is that the judiciary and a blocking minority will be able to sustain the privileges of the current wealth concentration (and probably augment it) while feeding resentment and pablum to the other two wings of the coalition. 

    Trump’s fate is probably semi-irrelevant to the overall coalition. They just constitute en masse the opposition to the emerging wealth-redistributing Democratic party that they greatly fear. They are supporting “the team” more than the personality. 

  5. Emery, you — or whoever you are cut-n-pasting from — does not realize that if the 2020 candidate gets another 8 million votes from Cali and NY, the GOP candidate will still be elected president.

  6. More to the point, Ohio is a must win state. In 2016, Trump stomped Hillary by 8 points in Ohio, despite being outspent and out organized by Clinton, and Hillary outpolling Trump right up until the election. Trump had virtually no ground game in Ohio and Kasich, of course refused to help Trump with his organization or voter lists.
    How will Kamala Harris do in Ohio, do you think?
    Madness is doing the same thing again and again while expecting different results.

  7. If the Democrats where clever they would nominate a competent person with executive experience such as a governor. My idea of a useful Democrat is somebody like Hickenlooper, but my idea of a useful Republican is a Kasich or Mitch Daniels. I cringe at the thought of any of the likely candidates from the Senate.

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