The lines above are from King Lear’s famous diatribe against the storm. The once mighty Lear, now powerless, urges nature to bring on another apocalypse. The storm symbolizes Lear’s state of mind. Shakespeare’s words could easily have been spoken by politicians following Harvey, Irma and Maria, ranting about climate change, price gouging and, in Puerto Rico, blaming others for their lack of preparedness.
Harvey was the first major (cat 3) hurricane to make US landfall since Wilma in 2005, the longest hurricane-free period ever. Irma was the only major hurricane to hit Florida in 12 years, toppling a 165-year record. What happened next was as predictable as it was pathetic. There were climate change diatribes worthy of King Lear about how 12 hurricane-free years somehow proves hurricanes are more (not less) frequent.
Meanwhile, a 2017 peer-reviewed study (D’Aleo, Wallace, Idso) found man-made adjustments to temperature readings account for all reported warming in the past 75 years. The study’s authors said when numerous adjustments are made, it is reasonable to expect some to have the effect of increasing warming and some of decreasing warming. Instead, nearly all adjustments increased warming; i.e. the data underpinning global warming are based entirely on human adjustments – not on actual data!
EPA Administrator Pruitt and Energy Secretary Perry have suggested red-blue team exercises (used by military and intelligence services) to expose vulnerabilities in climate science. Climate alarmists went ballistic, arguing it would be a dangerous attempt to elevate minority opinions and to undercut the legitimacy, objectivity and transparency of existing climate science. Why would legitimate scientists be afraid to debate any issue? They should welcome debate. Newton is spinning in his grave.
Politicians also mimicked King Lear in castigating price gouging. Florida Senator Nelson and AG Bondi were the best Lear impersonators. Bondi vowed to prosecute and to shame gougers and established a hotline for reporting violations. They are economically illiterate; economists universally agree price gouging is beneficial.
Americans understand prices for the same product fluctuate in different conditions. Hotel rooms in a college town cost more during a big game. Americans openly flaunt anti-scalping laws. A poor ghetto kid risking scarce capital to broker tickets should be honored, not incarcerated. We readily accept Uber’s surge pricing and viscerally grasp it is beneficial. Government engages in price gouging at, inter alia, airports, toll roads, turnpike rest stops and sporting venues – Nelson and Bondi take note.
Prices in free markets convey accurate, truthful and useful information about the value of a good or service; government prices are lies; consider the following:
- Market prices are determined by voluntary cooperation among people. Government prices are coercive and based on the naked police power of the state. Markets enforce themselves; government prices must be enforced by men with guns.
- Market prices alleviate shortages by directing resources to where they are most needed; government prices (rent control) lead to rationing and create shortages.
- Market prices are logical, non-political, foster civility and encourage honest behavior. Government prices are illogical, political and strain the social fabric by criminalizing laudable and honest behavior. Government prices create black markets, incentives for illegal behavior and breed disrespect for the law as in Venezuela.
- Market prices result in more supplies being available during a crisis, storing extra goods beforehand and conservation. Government prices create shortages, rationing and empty shelves. Market prices are better for victims of natural disasters.
Why should a hurricane somehow be different than a football game when it comes to the price of a hotel room? Market prices are truthful; government prices are lies. In what kind of society would you prefer to live – one based on voluntary cooperation of people in markets or one based on government lies enforced by men with guns?
Our next post describes the four gifts of Christmas