Sunday, November 04, 2012

Our "leaders" missed the Econ 101 Prereq

Lots of basic classes have prerequisites.  Why not public office?  As in, you can't be governor of a state unless you have taken (and PASSED) basic economics.

Anonyman sends this delightful tidbit:

Drivers in New Jersey faced 1970s-style gasoline rationing imposed by Gov. Chris Christie, while in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that the Defense Department would distribute free fuel from five mobile stations. But that effort backfired when too many people showed up.

Rationing makes sense, given that Gov. Christie has decided to prevent the price system from allocating resources.  Like all Republicans, his authoritarian and life-arranging instincts come out in times of crisis, and like all Republicans he'll make up crises if he has to, justify state control of pretty much everything.  But at least that's possible.

Governor Cuomo just has no conception of how things work, though.  Knowing that people really, really need this stuff, we'll...give it away for free!  What could possibly go wrong?  We don't NEED no stinkin' rationing.  Except that if the price is zero, the costs of non-price rationing are very high.  There is no saving, and there is no reason to believe that the people who need gas actually get it.

And Mayor Bloomberg?  Completely hopeless, a statist to the core. 

Officials said they were trying to get help where it was needed. “One of the problems is that when you have lots of different agencies, it takes a while for them to get coordinated,” Mr. Bloomberg said at his briefing, adding that he understood how high the tensions were in the Rockaways. “Somebody this morning screamed at me that they could not get coffee.”

Because they were waiting for "lots of different agencies" to "get coordinated" to provide coffee.  If only there were a system that would allow people to get the things they need without those things being provided by government.  We use that system every day during normal times, and we get lots of stuff from groceries, gas stations, and drug stores.  But when there is an emergency, we use a whole dog's breakfast of different laws to prevent the market system from helping us when we need it most.


Thomas W said...

From my economics classes in college long ago (with the marxist professor) and some of the post-Keynesian stuff I've seen, you better identify which econ 101 prereq. :-)

ericmc said...

We just need the right leaders this time! Let's try harder next storm! You hate the poor.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Bloomberg meant to say that the government should provide coffee, so much as that the lack of transportation access and associated things in NY made it difficult for both businesses to be run and for customers to go to them.

That being said, Cuomo is still an idiot.

J Scheppers said...

I would add these other areas of poor pricing: "Free transit" and hieghtened congestions. Seems to me in a time of crisis placing a higher price on transport to storm strickened areas would be effective in allocated the limited "public goods" of roads and transit. The revenue could be used to start paying for the remedies and rationalize the demand.

Instead of a rational fee per vehicle or increase toll on the available access to Manhattan a 3 person collective was necessary to enter into the city.

As for an emergency, the NY/NJ football stadium attendance did not seem to indicate harsh restricitons in people's movement that a little pricing could not solve.