Full-blooded Libertarians probably drive me even crazier than far-right conservatives. I agree with the Libertarian position on many issues, only to find myself breaking yet another keyboard with my face over their views on other points, such as their undying faith in the power of the free market to solve all of society’s ills. John Stossel has written columns that perfectly capture my viewpoint, especially when he is writing on the War on Drugs, and then he also writes things like this:
That would help, but Christie would help more if he could suspend New Jersey’s foolish law forbidding price increases of more than 10% during an “emergency,” and if he’d apologize for bragging that the state will crack down on price “gouging!”
Complaining about greedy profiteers is probably politically smart. But if you’re one of the people the law “protects,” you won’t fare as well.
What politicians call “gouging” is just the free market. When markets are allowed to work their magic, lines disappear. The high price is a big flag planted in the ground that says, “Hey, come over here and make money.”
Today, some car owners wait in line just to top off their tanks. If gas stations could raise prices, many of those drivers would wait, and drive less. Drivers who really need gas would be able to get it. At the same time, entrepreneurs would rush gasoline to gas stations that have the highest prices. The lines would quickly vanish, and prices would come back down.
Let’s ignore the fact that someone on Fox News is criticizing New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. That is now the trendy thing to do in conservative circles, ever since the Gov. decided to put politics aside and do what was best for his state and work with
the devil himself President Obama. Let’s instead just deal with Stossel’s actual argument. Actually, let’s let the gang from The Wonkette deal with it for us, since my snark supply is running low at the moment.
The piece goes on and on like that, explaining how we could all benefit if there were no state services after a hurricane, and the free market let small armies of private contractors charge whatever they want. That way, people who “need” things the most would use them, and there would be less long lines. We will just observe that it’s such a wild coincidence how the people who “need” things the most are always the people who happen to have money. Crazy, right? Like the people who “need” medical care — isn’t it funny how poor, uninsured people don’t seem to “need” medical care and rich, insured people do? And gas — surely all these people waiting in that two-miles-long line don’t NEED gas, do they? And while we’re at it, we could argue that the long lines are equal to a sort of “time gouging,” wherein people who are willing to stand in lines two miles long are probably the people who really need the gas. The time spent in line is probably as effective a deterrent to frivolous gas usage as high prices are, anyway, according to Fox News’ thinly supported “analysis.” But we at Wonkette only would argue something like that because we’re probably communists.