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