We love price controls in little places

For the billionth time: price controls do not primarily or effectively control prices. They create shortages and lower quality. However, each generation, sadly, has to retrace the history of human folly. We are grateful when the examples take place far away and in tiny locales. Malia Zimmerman in the WSJ:

Several hundred families on the normally sleepy island of Molokai lined up in their cars for more than a mile on July 28, desperate to buy gasoline before the pumps shut down. There were still two more days before a barge would arrive with a month’s supply of gas, and by nightfall the island’s only three gas stations would be dry…..

So why bring back price controls more than 30 years after Nixon tried them and failed miserably, causing shortages, rationing, inflation and an economic crisis? It’s hard to find a reason, other than to retaliate against the big oil companies, namely Chevron, which many Democrats tried to punish unsuccessfully in court.

Made up primarily of liberal Democrats with no economics training, no business background, an open disdain for the free market, and a lust for price caps (except on state taxes), lawmakers say they have to “do something” about the high price of gasoline. Never mind that oil prices have skyrocketed everywhere thanks to increasing demand in the world market and rapid growth in China and India.

Something is wrong with the brains of the people who dream up these schemes. Like Gray Davis, who said that he could have cured California’s faux energy crisis of 2002 in 30 days by deregulating prices, these meddlers can’t seem to find their way out of the box they put themselves in. Typically, and we expect no less in Hawaii, they seek to cure the imbalances their foolishness creates by creating yet more regulations and thick handbooks of arcane rules.

We are among those who get the last laugh: when we vacation in Hawaii during Thanksgiving, we have confidence that the rental car companies will be among those who have greased the palms of Hawaii’s energy fools.

2 Responses to “We love price controls in little places”

  1. larwyn Says:

    Did you really mean Gray Davis said he would “deregulate prices”? Doesn’t
    make sense to me. I was so happy to see the Powerline link to your
    knowledge and wisdom, isn’t this a typo, thought Conservative Free
    Marketers were against regulation of prices.

    “Something is wrong with the brains of the people who dream up these schemes. Like Gray Davis, who said that he could have cured California’s faux energy crisis of 2002 in 30 days by deregulating prices, these meddlers can’t seem to find their way out of the box they put themselves in.”

  2. DL Says:

    As in upstate New York, if the native Hawaiians get “Indian status,” they will undersell everyone on their tax free reservations with their “tax free” petrol. Don’t laugh yet!

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