Make us your home page

Letters: Allow free markets to determine prices

FEMA is gouging without conscience | Dec. 10

Let free market determine prices

I write to defend the practice that was labeled "price gouging" in a John Romano column.

The truth is that high winds do not suspend the laws of economics. When a hurricane threatens, certain things, like water and generators, will be in high demand. When demand goes up in a free market, prices will increase to avoid shortages. These price increases spur further production or delivery, which then works to stabilize prices again. But when politicians decide to get involved, price controls — which is what these "antigouging" laws are — don't work any better here than they do in Venezuela, or did in Russia.

With prices forced low, people will buy more than they need, creating shortages. And because prices can't be raised, that guy in Georgia sitting on a stockpile of extra generators has zero incentive to spend the time or money to bring them to Florida. The demand will still be high, leading to black markets (and the attendant violence), and there will be no incentive for anybody to increase the supply, which is what is really needed.

Most important, innocent people may go without essential items, all because some bureaucrat in Tallahassee tried to alter the forces of economic nature. Now that's unconscionable.

We trust the free market to be the most efficient, prosperous and equitable way to distribute resources every other time of the year.

Why do we suddenly try to suspend it during the very times we need it the most?

Chris Johnson, Clearwater

Minimum wage today both lower, higher than Truman years | Dec. 8

'Half True' ruling shows Obama bias

PolitiFact's political bias reared its ugly head again in Sunday's Business section. If something is wrong seven out of eight times, and barely true in the eighth, it should be rated Mostly False.

But Barack Obama's statement that the minimum wage is lower now than in Harry Truman's Administration was give a "Half True." Far be it from me to argue that Obama doesn't speak in half-truths, but it seems that PolitiFact bent over backward to give him partial credit.

Larry Alter, Seminole

share your opinions

MAIL: Business News Letters, P.O. Box 1121,

St. Petersburg, FL 33731

FAX: (727) 893-8939

E-MAIL: biznews@ (Please

use the word "Letter" in

the subject field.)


letters (Choose the

"Business" option.)

Letters: Allow free markets to determine prices 12/13/13 [Last modified: Friday, December 13, 2013 3:46pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. In your 20s and living with mom and dad? In Florida, you're not alone.

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — After graduating from the University of Florida in 2015, Gabrielle Piloto jumped on the highway and headed south to Tampa.

    Gabrielle Piloto, 22, moved home to live with her grandparents in West Tampa after graduating from the University of Florida in 2015. [MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]

  2. Senate leaders unveil bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act


    WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans, who have promised a repeal of the Affordable Care Act for seven years, took a major step on Thursday toward that goal, unveiling a bill to cut Medicaid deeply and end the health law's mandate that most Americans have health insurance.

    U.S. Senate Republicans on Thursday unveiled a proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The bill's chief author, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, has said "Obamacare is collapsing around us, and the American people are desperately searching for relief." [AP]
  3. Southwest Airlines to offer flights from Tampa to San Diego


    TAMPA — Southwest Airlines will offer new nonstop service from Tampa International Airport to San Diego International Airport beginning Jan. 8, 2018.

    Southwest Airlines is planning to launch service from Tampa to San Diego.
[Times file photo]
  4. Tampa Bay homes values continue to rise along with sales prices

    Real Estate

    For the second month in a row, Tampa Bay had one of the highest year -over-year increases in home values in May, Zillow reported today.

    For the second month in a row, Tampa Bay had one of the highest year -over-year increases in home values in May, Zillow reported Thursday.
[Times file photo]
  5. Busy start has Florida Hospital Center Ice dreaming big


    WESLEY CHAPEL — Opening day brought 600 doctors, administrators and their families from Florida Hospital. Soon after that, the facility hosted its first junior league game and a collegiate showdown. A few weeks later, 200 kids, ages 4 to 9, participated in national Learn to Play Hockey Day.

    Alex Senushkin and his grandson, Styopa Kulshyn, 3, of Lakeland, skate at the Florida Hospital Center Ice rink in Wesley Chapel.
[CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times]