Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a state of emergency for 33 Florida counties on Saturday in anticipation of Hurricane Idalia, thus activating one of the most misguided and counterproductive economic policies imaginable.
Yes, with the sweep of his pen, DeSantis banned “price gouging.”
Inflation was running rampant for months before the Federal Reserve launched its inflation fight. As you’ll recall, we were told over and over again that inflation was transitory. But now that the central bank is on the job, most people are confident Powell and Company can get rising prices back under control.
Perhaps they shouldn’t be so confident.
When I was a kid, we used to say some things only “sound good on paper.” In other words, they seem like good plans, but there is no way they’re going to work in the real world.
That’s socialism in a nutshell.
The Pilgrims found this out the hard way during their first couple of years in North America. Their experiment in socialism turned out deadly.
Proving that most people have no idea what causes inflation, the majority of Americans in a recent poll said they want the federal government to hand out stimulus checks to combat inflation.
Hurricane Ian is taking aim at Florida. That means there is already talk of “price gouging.”
People have a visceral emotional reaction to people raising prices during a disaster. But it is nothing but feelz. In fact, “price gouging” serves an important economic function. Not allowing prices to rise actually causes more harm.
Americans have been laboring under the burden of inflation for well over a year. We feel the pain everywhere, from the gas pump to the grocery store. Once it became impossible to sell the “inflation is transitory” narrative any longer, the Federal Reserve began raising interest rates to fight inflation. As a result, the bubble economy is getting shaky. But even some people at the Fed seem to realize this is a fight they can’t win.
In a talk at the Ron Paul Institute, Mises Institute president Jeff Deist called inflation “state-sponsored terrorism.”
Government price controls are a bad idea that just won’t go away.
With prices skyrocketing, you’ll hear some people on the left argue that the US government should implement price controls. Meanwhile, President Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan would impose various price controls on prescription drugs.
With the impact of sanctions tanking the ruble, the Russian central bank announced it would buy gold from local banks at a fixed rate. The move had the desired effect. The ruble quickly recovered. But the Central Bank of Russia abandoned the de facto gold standard almost as fast as it implemented it.
Student loan forgiveness has been in the news lately. There are a number of different plans being floated, from blanket debt repudiation up to various amounts, to more limited income-based schemes. But nobody ever talks about a key question: who is going to pay for it?
Well, you will.