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