Laws against “gouging” add to the suffering caused by hurricanes, floods, and other disasters. Rather than prevent anti-social behavior, they encourage it. And far from ensuring that supplies remain available at prices residents can afford, they all but guarantee more painful shortages.
Price controls are always bad policy, because they interfere with the free flow of accurate information about market conditions — information that countless buyers, sellers, suppliers, and consumers rely on to make economic decisions. That kind of interference is economically harmful at the best times, but it’s devastating in a crisis, when destruction is widespread and the need for accurate economic information can be a matter of life and death. When the price of bottled water more than doubles overnight, it isn’t because of a storekeeper’s whim. It is how the market communicates that a vital product is about to become much more scarce.
Pia Orrenius and Madeline Zavodny find that “In fact, research overwhelmingly indicates that immigrants are less likely than similar U.S. natives to commit violent and property crimes, and that areas with more immigrants have similar or lower rates of violent and property crimes than areas with fewer immigrants.” (HT David Levey)
As a teacher of undergraduates, Ms. Paglia despairs at how “bad it is for young people, filled with fears, to be raised in this kind of a climate where personal responsibility isn’t spoken of.” Since her own youth, she says, college students have devolved from rebels into skittish supplicants, petitioning people in authority to protect them from real life. Young adults are encouraged to look for “substitute parent figures on campus, which is what my generation rebelled against in college. We threw that whole ‘in loco parentis’ thing out.”