Price Gouging During Emergencies | Are There Benefits?

FIRST, here is the article Larry Elder referenced in the audio above regarding the Chicago fire: “Lessons from the Chicago Fire.” WALTER WILLIAMS gives an excellent example of the benefits of price “gouging” (supply and demand) in helping families:

…Here’s a which-is-better question for you. Suppose a hotel room rented for $79 a night prior to Hurricane Katrina’s devastation. Based on that price, an evacuating family of four might rent two adjoining rooms. When they arrive at the hotel, they find the rooms rent for $200; they decide to make do with one room. In my book, that’s wonderful. The family voluntarily opted to make a room available for another family who had to evacuate or whose home was destroyed. Demagogues will call this price-gouging, but I ask you, which is preferable: a room available at $200 or a room unavailable at $79? Rising prices get people to voluntarily economize on goods and services rendered scarcer by the disaster.

After Hurricane Katrina struck, gasoline prices shot up almost a dollar nearly overnight. Some people have been quick to call this price-gouging, particularly since wholesalers and retailers were charging the higher price for gasoline already purchased and in their tanks prior to the hurricane. The fact of business is that what a seller paid for something doesn’t necessarily determine its selling price. Put in a bit more sophisticated way: Historical costs have nothing to do with selling price. For example, suppose you maintained a 10-pound inventory of coffee in your cupboard. When I ran out, you’d occasionally sell me a pound for $2. Suppose there’s a freeze in Brazil destroying much of the coffee crop, driving coffee prices to $5 a pound. Then I come around to purchase coffee. Are you going to charge me $2 a pound, what you paid for it, or $5, what it’s going to cost you to restock your coffee inventory?

[….]

Politicians of both parties have rushed in to exploit public ignorance and emotion. Last week Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (Democrat) threatened to prosecute gas companies. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (Republican) is threatening legal action against what he called “unconscionable pricing” by hotels. Alabama Attorney General Troy King (Republican) promises to vigorously prosecute businesses that significantly increase prices during the state of emergency. The Bush administration has called for the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission to look for evidence of price-gouging, and Congress plans to hold hearings on oil company “price-gouging.”

There’s an important downside to these political attacks on producers. What about the next disaster? How much sense does it make for producers to make the extra effort to provide goods and services if they know they risk prosecution for charging what might be seen as “unconscionable prices”? Politicians would serve us better by focusing their energies on tax-gouging.

Time Magazine vs. Time Magazine on the `Polar Vortex` (Al Roker Video Added)

Scientism & Knowledge

 “But a theory that can confront any contingency with unflagging success cannot be falsified. Its control of the facts is an illusion.”

~ David Berlinski, The Deniable Darwin & Other Essays (Seattle, WA: Discovery Institute Press, 2009), 47.

Dennis Prager references a USA Today article as follows:

Radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh said the “polar vortex” the cold was blamed on is a new term invented by the media to link the cold wave to man-made climate change. The term has been around for decades.

Donald Trump took to Twitter to write: “Record snowfall & freezing temps throughout the country. Where is Global Warming when you need it?!”

So if it’s very cold, then global warming isn’t real? Scientists say no: “This week’s brutal cold wave was a 1-in-20-year type of event,” says meteorologist Jeff Masters of the Weather Underground, “and we will continue to see such cold waves in the future, even as the planet warms.”

Meteorologist Cliff Mass of the University of Washington agrees, writing on his blog: “This individual event says nothing about the impacts of global warming. Global warming will occur over the coming century ….. One event proves nothing. Furthermore, the real warming is in the future.”…

 Here is some commentary on the article that tries to correct Rush Limbaugh (correctly), but doesn’t go far enough:

Ed Driscoll puts the 1974 Time article next to the 2014 Time articles speaking about the “Polar Vortex”

~ click to enlarge graphic ~

As spotted by Steve Goddard, and linked to by Climate Depot:

In 1974, Time Magazine blamed the cold polar vortex on global cooling.

‘Scientists have found other indications of global cooling. For one thing there has been a noticeable expansion of the great belt of dry, high-altitude polar winds —the so-called circumpolar vortex—that sweep from west to east around the top and bottom of the world.’

Another Ice Age? – TIME

Forty years later, Time Magazine blames the cold polar vortex on global warming

‘But not only does the cold spell not disprove climate change, it may well be that global warming could be making the occasional bout of extreme cold weather in the U.S. even more likely. Right now much of the U.S. is in the grip of a polar vortex, which is pretty much what it sounds like: a whirlwind of extremely cold, extremely dense air that forms near the poles.’

Polar Vortex: Climate Change Could Be the Cause of Record Cold Weather | TIME.com

To borrow from an item I wrote a few days before Christmas, as Zombie noted at PJM last year, the warnings for what industrialized man should do to fight global cooling are virtually identical to the warnings would-be “climate” “scientists” have given to fight global warming as well. You can also see the same cure for very different alleged symptoms in the clip below, of a “scientist” who was busted a few years ago for first predicting doom from global cooling, and decades later, predicting doom from global warming:

read more at Ed’s Blog…

Then there is this short critique of Al “saint” Roker, who is going to give $1,000 to charity… if you prove him wrong. What a philanthropic! NewsBusters ends their article on media bias with this commentary on Al Roker:

Later on the show, Roker returned to the topic and ranted: “Some are saying that, A, we’ve created this phrase to hype it and to create hysteria and that we have made it a political issue by linking it to either climate change or global warming. I will give anybody who can prove that I have ever linked this with global warming or climate change, I will donate a thousand dollars to your charity. Alright?”

While it’s true that Roker did not blame global warming for the frigid temperatures, some of his media colleagues certainly did:

Roker’s pronouncements on the topic were reminiscent of his commentary from the April 3, 2013 Today, when he fumed over the percentage of Americans who don’t believe in climate change: “37 percent of these people don’t believe in global warming! Okay, two words: Superstorm Sandy!”

Scientist Corrects Los Angeles Times Reporter On the Connection Between Global Warming and Tornadoes

Video Description:

This is a story from NewsBusters (http://tinyurl.com/noo9bdo), and I decided to isolate the portion that the story references. A Los Angeles Times reporter, Stacey Lessca, asks a question about the connection between hurricanes and tornadoes in regards to climate change/global warming. The research climatologist from the National Severe Storms Laboratory, Robin Tanamachi, corrects this understanding mentioning that the data does not support this idea.

Not to mention this in from Max Plank’s institute on climate (http://tinyurl.com/ps2kxqr):

Max Planck Institute For Meteorology: “Prognoses Confirm Model Forecasts” Warming Postponed “Hundreds Of Years”

Now that global temperatures have not risen in 15 years, a number of scientists find themselves having great difficulty coming to terms with that new reality.

The Max Planck Institute for Meteorology (MPI-M) in Hamburg is no exception. For years the institute insisted that the man-made climate catastrophe was real and happening now. Today it finds itself scrambling for a backdoor.

[….]

“Jochem Marotzke is part of a team of the world’s most renowned climate scientists who have taken the most recent development of the surface temperature into account in order to forecast how the Earth will heat up from the greenhouse effect, foremost from carbon dioxide (CO2). These prognoses confirm that the climate models correctly forecast global warming trend over multiple decades, that is until the middle or the end of the 21st century. There is no wise reason for calling off the alarm. Because the climate has a very high thermal inertia and the oceans warm up only very slowly, it’s going to take some time before the effects of the greenhouse gases completely take hold. A warming from the greenhouse effect will be amplified by numerous feedbacks, and weakened by a few processes. Only when this complicated interaction quiets down will the climate come to a stable condition. This long-term reaction by the climate is called equilibrium climate sensitivity (ESC) and is calculated by climate scientists. It is the final temperature increase that comes from a doubling of CO2  concentration, and will probably occur first after a few hundred years.

Chris Christie Blames Boehner for Holding Up Hurricane Relief Bill ~ Dennis Prager

 From Video Description:

Dennis Prager comments on all the addition pork heaped on an otherwise good bill to help relive the financial burden due to the recent Hurricane on the East Coast.  What is in the bill?

TOWNHALL (http://tinyurl.com/aaf94t6):
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The pork-barrel feast includes more than $8 million to buy cars and equipment for the Homeland Security and Justice departments. It also includes a whopping $150 million for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to dole out to fisheries in Alaska and $2 million for the Smithsonian Institution to repair museum roofs in DC.

An eye-popping $13 billion would go to “mitigation” projects to prepare for future storms.

Other big-ticket items in the bill include $207 million for the VA Manhattan Medical Center; $41 million to fix up eight military bases along the storm’s path, including Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; $4 million for repairs at Kennedy Space Center in Florida; $3.3 million for the Plum Island Animal Disease Center and $1.1 million to repair national cemeteries.

Budget watchdogs have dubbed the 94-page emergency-spending bill “Sandy Scam.”

More:

★ $58.8 million for forest restoration on private land.
★ $197 million “to… protect coastal ecosystems and habitat impacted by Hurricane Sandy.”
★ $10.78 billion for public transportation, most of which is allocated to future construction and improvements, not disaster relief.
★ $17 billion for wasteful Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), a program that has become notorious for its use as a backdoor earmark program.

HOTAIR ~ Left Leaning Mayor BLOOMBERG (http://tinyurl.com/b64h8ne):
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Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who previously declined to slam House Speaker John Boehner over Congress’ stalled Hurricane Sandy aid, took his argument to the next level this morning and suggested federal lawmakers are partially to blame for the delay in the vote on the package because they insert “things that are totally extraneous” into bills such as this. Although Mr. Bloomberg didn’t specify the extraneous problem items, the legislation has been criticized by Republicans like Rep. Paul Ryan for being “packed with funding for unrelated items, such as commercial fisheries in American Samoa and roof repair of museums in Washington, D.C.”

“There’s this ‘Christmas Tree effect’ where legislators put in their favorite bills and tack them onto something. The [Obama] administration does that, that’s why you have an omnibus bill–to force everybody to vote for things that would never stand up in the light of day if they were individual,” Mr. Bloomberg said on his weekly radio show with John Gambling. “I’m sympathetic. Yelling and screaming at [Mr. Boehner] is just not my style. It may be effective, it may not be. Everybody’s got to make their own decisions. I think the legislative leaders who criticize and those in the Legislature should stop and think, they do exactly the same thing in terms of ladling on things that are totally extraneous but it’s the only way they get them through.”

WALL STREET JOURNAL (http://tinyurl.com/axuethf):
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…Look at some of what was in the $60 billion bill: $150 million for Alaskan fisheries; $2 million for roof repair at the Smithsonian in Washington; and about $17 billion for liberal activists under the guise of “community development” funds and so-called social service grants. Far from being must-pass legislation, this is a disgrace to the memory of the victims and could taint legitimate efforts to deal with future disasters.

California Republican Darrell Issa had it right when he told Fox News that “They had the opportunity to have a $27- to $30-billion legit relief package, packed it with pork, then dared us not to vote on it.”

Beyond the recriminations is the larger problem that every disaster has become a Washington political opportunity. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is fully funded but does an incompetent job. Federal flood insurance encourages overbuilding in storm zones, so taxpayers pay first to subsidize the insurance and then to save the homeowners who overbuilt. And politicians use the public sympathy after any disaster as an excuse to throw even more money not merely at victims but for pent-up priorities they should be funding out of regular state and local tax dollars.

Mr. Boehner’s sin was ensuring that the House had time to sort the pork from the parochial. Mr. Christie should thank him on behalf of New Jersey taxpayers.