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September 10, 2018

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I have worked on the edges of disaster relief for a while, primarily supporting with military units, but also generally state planning, and some with FEMA directly.

Some states deliberately do not have a disaster fund prepared so FEMA has to carry the load. Talking to colleagues I would say that FEMA is a moral hazard, giving State Politicians another place to cut funding for tax cuts.

Other states use disasters as a way to fund other projects that they wanted to do. The national guard in some states is fairly notorious for this.

Some states won't do anything until the feds agree to pick up the price.

Interestingly, NJ and Governor Christie received high marks from the FEMA team I worked with for doing what needed to be done regardless of whether NJ or the Feds paid for it during that hurricane.

Basically, during a disaster FEMA works for the State the disaster is in: Even the federal military units report to a dual hatted national guard general who is appointed by the governor. It was not until about 2009 that Army Reserve units were even allowed to support (generally...there were some exceptions). FEMA's role is to coordinate federal resources to support the State, but not to run the show.

Which is a long way of saying that the focus should be on the state preparation for disasters, particularly ones where the likelihood is high (tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, depending on location).

This is a 2007 report on State disaster funding. Hopefully things are better now.

The CBO report noted that few states have dedicated accounts or trust funds for emergencies that bypass the legislative appropriation process, and even fewer fund these accounts in advance at a level sufficient to cover large-scale emergencies (see copy of report attached).
A 2003 NEMA survey found that most states (31) appropriate funds for specific incidents after a major disaster occurs. Twenty-two states, according to the report, have separate disaster funds to which money is appropriated as needed (usually annually) to maintain adequate balances. The report found only Arkansas and Florida had established disaster trust funds with revenue from specified sources. Florida, for example, imposes a surcharge on insurance policies (see Table 1 attached).

https://www.cga.ct.gov/2007/rpt/2007-R-0643.htm

North Carolina has about $2 billion in its rainy day fund which I think is separate from disaster relief (intended for economic turndowns instead), which is enough to fund government for 30 days. But they are talking about using it for this hurricane.

https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article218224035.html

FEMA has met with a lot of criticism over the years. Much of it justified. But any large department of a huge central government, no matter how well designed and staffed, is likely to be flatfooted and clumsy when it tries to deal with one of, chaotic situations like natural disasters.

a merchant is free to take his business to Somalia, if he doesn't like the opportunities and obligations provided by the USA.

the rest of us are going to keep using the entity by which we've organized ourselves to enact the laws and rules we want.

kthxbye.

the "textbook economics" of price-gouging are "irreproachable."

textbook economics will be the death of the republic yet.

to me, gouging is a behavior that is so far outside the bounds of civic decency that it should be discussed in the same terms that we discuss extortion. i.e., as a crime.

i'll keep saying the same thing over and over - we don't share a common set of values. i have zero interest in living by the principles you espouse here. you think they equal freedom, i think they equal slavery.

Behind the objection lies an unspoken assumption: that there must be some morally correct price for a consumer good, independent of the wishes of the person selling it.

the assumption is correct.

if, in a time of crisis a merchant who inflates the price of items that are possibly the difference between life and death life in order to maximize his own profit is morally wrong.

it's easy to tell this by imagining the reaction the merchant will receive when the locals return and start talking about what a shitty person Mr Shopkeep must be to have so raised the price of vital supplies. that disgust and anger is moral judgement.

The hurricane seems to be tapering off in strength. Hopefully a lot more before landfall. If not, you can bet there'll be people in middle-class neighborhoods complaining that they can't get generators no matter how much they're willing to pay for them.

"So-called price gouging sends important signals to buyers and sellers."

I can think of a few.

We speak of America's can do attitude.

But what about America's can't do, we don't wanna do, who are you to tell me to do, you do it and leave me alone, why bother doing it, we ain't paying for doing it, you do that and I'm liable to shoot your attitudes?

HANH?

If not, you can bet there'll be people in middle-class neighborhoods complaining that they can't get generators no matter how much they're willing to pay for them.

I realize that, living on the far side of the continent, I have no appreciation for the realities of living with hurricanes. But it isn't entirely obvious why someone, living where hurricanes happen so often, wouldn't deal with the need for a generator during the off season, when demand would presumably be lower, prices lower, and time pressure lower.

if, in a time of crisis a merchant who inflates the price of items that are possibly the difference between life and death life in order to maximize his own profit is morally wrong.

Is he morally wrong if he doesn't sell at all?

Many local merchants are likely to keep their prices down just for the goodwill it will buy them. Especially big box stores that can more easily afford to do so. And they'll look even better by comparison if "price-gougers" are outside selling at much higher prices.

textbook economics will be the death of the republic yet.

Depends on who wrote the textbook.

But it isn't entirely obvious why someone, living where hurricanes happen so often, wouldn't deal with the need for a generator during the off season, when demand would presumably be lower, prices lower, and time pressure lower.

Hurricanes didn't use to happen so often. Perhaps people living in wildfire country should invest in better fire extinguishers, or something?

Sorry, lost a lot of comments on the page jump. bc, it was Ugh that posted the Serwer piece, not me. I have to abjectly confess, I am both a teacher and an academic, so my pleasure at you reading the piece is counterbalanced by my distress at you not getting the attribution correct.

I return you to your discussion of the morality of price-gouging with the observation that the fact that we can have defenses of price-gouging is probably the reason the US can't have a nice health care system.

Can we define terms please, because I find I am unable to believe that CharlesWT means what he appears to mean.

Charles, if a merchant normally sells a 500 gallon plastic tank of water for X, plus Y for shipping anywhere in the continental US, and has a good business selling M tanks a year, are you truly saying that in the wake of a natural disaster in the continental US which disrupts a town's water supply, it is fine for that merchant (instead of just charging whatever extra transport charges are necessary in the wake of the disaster) to charge 2X or 3X per tank, plus a multiple of transport costs, to increase his profits even more than he would by selling more than M tanks? To profit on the misfortunes of desperate people?

It's OK to sell something at whatever someone is willing to pay for it.

Depending on state laws, the merchant may not be able to raise prices even a little bit to cover the increased cost.

Chain stores like WalMart are more likely to give the water away just for the goodwill.

Local merchants may also be members of the desperate people faced with damage and destruction to their homes and businesses. Raising prices may be the only way they can keep their businesses open to people who need their products and services.

Also, allowing higher prices encourages people outside the disaster area to take the financial and personal risk to bring in needed goods and services.

I think part of it is 'just in time' manufacturing and logistics. The manufacturer who made 'M' water tanks expected to sell that many. Now there is greater demand, and no one is sitting on a stockpile of them.

When I built my house last year 3000 miles away from any hurricanes, my framing budget was completely shot, because the damage from the hurricanes meant there was not enough lumber to meet the demands at that time. Anybody who wanted to wait 6 months for stockage to return could save money, but if you wanted to build now, you had competition for a finite resource.

I think it there is concern about price gouging, the government should step in and stockpile those things it is concerned about (like we do with oil) so when there is a shock, they can release some.

You can bet the chain stores in the area have spent the last few days stockpiling things that they know from past experience will be in greater demand. Like beer and Pop-Tarts®.

I think it there is concern about price gouging, the government should step in and stockpile those things it is concerned about (like we do with oil) so when there is a shock, they can release some.

This. CharlesWT thinks that the market forces will make things right, but human beings don't always go along with that. People raise prices of water, and people dying of thirst kill the proprietor and drink the water. Then government has to step in after the fact, rather than making it all good for everyone before that happens.

It'a a matter of timing, CharlesWT, but government is always going to have to solve it, one way or the other.

CharlesWT,

That is 'just in time.' Just not sufficient, since if they had enough, price rationing wouldn't happen.

Looks like the outer reaches of Florence is making landfall.

Here's a full screen weather map. I expect the same or similar can be found at other links.

Click the expand button. Click on "LAYERS" at the lower right. Click on "Radar/Satellite and "Active Tropical Track." Click on the map and drag to position.

"It's OK to sell something at whatever someone is willing to pay for it"

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Shkreli

Well, as long as it's just OK and not stupendous, miraculous, and/or effing fantastic and the someone we are selling something to is not, say, our child, then I guess OK is good enough for private sector work.

Cigarettes at Buchanwald were dear.

Hurray for circumstance and the pricing thereof.

Fuck all.

Shoplifting, theft, and looting can also be textbook examples of rational economic behavior, but the price gougers are permitted to fucking shoot the perpetrators.

The discussion gouging didn't begin with things like a temporary increase in price of a finite resource like lumber, across a nation or international market, because of an increase in demand due to a storm.

Or, with the onset of chagrin among the grasshoppers among us who failed to procure a generator before the local big box ran out.

It began with this:

The Carolinas and Virginia have invoked their anti-price gouging laws. So don't look for many people to be in a big hurry to bring in needed supplies and services in the aftermath of the storm

Which is simply false.

People don't need a "price signal" to bring needed supplies and services in the aftermath of a storm. They will bring them because they aren't jerks and they want to help people who were affected by the storm. Some of them will bring them because they are responsible, professionally and as public servants, for insuring that the public at large is as safe as possible.

The idea that we should forego public efforts to prepare for and respond to disasters, in favor of private individuals doing so out of their interest in personal profit, is basically insane.

That would not result in the widespread availability of needed supplies, because that assumes the widespread availability of money. People who don't have money would die. They would die of thirst, or exposure, or starvation, or untreated injury, or any of 100 other unnecessary causes.

As LJ notes, the fact that this is even something we need to discuss tells you everything you need to know about what ails the US.

Rich country, poor people, and everyone wants to line up to put their foot on the neck of the poorest.

I wasn't kidding when I said that "textbook economics" - naive, Econ 101 level dogma about the "free market" - is going to destroy the US as a self-governing republic.

Government bad.
Markets good.

Not just naive, naive and rapacious. What a combination.

It's OK to sell something at whatever someone is willing to pay for it.

Unless it is a labor union bargaining to set a price for labor. Then this sacred principle goes out the window and the "watchman state" is asked to step in and use their monopoly on Force to put their thumbs on the scales in favor of property.

Charles strikes me as a very nice guy, but it is bullshit rationales like these that raise my hackles when it comes to glibertarians and public policy, because their policy preferences are pure assholery that HUGELY favor a very small and select portion of society.

The idea that we should forego public efforts to prepare for and respond to disasters, in favor of private individuals doing so out of their interest in personal profit, is basically insane.

I think the term you are looking for is sociopathic.

Basically, the idea that markets are the solution to everything, and "all the market will bear" is an acceptable price? That's the ultra-libertarian view run amok. If you think that's all good, explain why you have not moved to a place where your ideal is available today: Somalia. For that matter, why are things so grim there, since it's implemented the perfect libertarian/market environment?

Econ 101 doesn't promote a dogma of free markets. CharlesWT does. It's a libertarian thing. A small number of economists are libertarians. A large number are people who are trying to figure out how government can promote economic growth, and solve problems like monopolies.

Also, what wj just said.

It's OK to sell something at whatever someone is willing to pay for it.

I can get my head around there is a libertarian argument that it might be problematic or undesirable to legislate against such behaviour. To argue that it’s morally acceptable is another thing entirely.

The idea that we should forego public efforts to prepare for and respond to disasters, in favor of private individuals doing so out of their interest in personal profit, is basically insane.

I didn't say that the government and NGOs like the Red Cross shouldn't be helping. They can help the poor while the "price-gougers" could reduce the load on them by selling to people with money.

I think it's usually a mistake for governments to regulate prices.

I want to live in a world where economics isn't everything: where the local shopkeeper is part of the community, he extends credit to a family in temporary difficulties, he gives a price break to the poor, and in an emergency he provides supplies at their usual price or below.

But there's two sides to it: to make all that possible he has to be supported by the community: if people save a bit of money by buying everything possible online, or by doing much of their shopping at the Walmart in the next town, then he's going to be forced to cut his margins and he'll need paying when an emergency arrives for the cost of carrying his stock. And if he's tempted to make some extra too, that should be between him and his customers. If his pricing alienates them, that will create an opportunity for a new shopkeeper.

I didn't say that the government and NGOs like the Red Cross shouldn't be helping.

You didn't _not_ say it, which is often why I have to raise an eyebrow at your comments from time to time.

They can help the poor while the "price-gougers" could reduce the load on them by selling to people with money.

Similar to the quotation marks around 'price-gougers'.

Two articles unrelated to hurricanes, but kind of interesting in terms of market economics and what the glibertarian stance on this would be.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/an-anarchist-is-teaching-patients-to-make-their-own-medications/

https://gizmodo.com/a-diy-pharmaceutical-revolution-is-coming-if-it-doesn-t-1796865404

. But it isn't entirely obvious why someone, living where hurricanes happen so often, wouldn't deal with the need for a generator during the off season,

they are very expensive (if you want one big enough to pump well water, for example). you need an electrician to install it (and that means finding one who will answer your call, and then taking a day off work to wait for him to get there and do his stuff).

that's why we don't have one. yet.

Is he morally wrong if he doesn't sell at all?

if he's not selling because he left, then obviously, no.

but if he's not selling because of... spite? pique? then obviously, yes.

but again, since formalized morality is a human creation, if humans feel price gouging is morally wrong, then it is.

there's no morality axis on the supply-demand graph, because supply-demand is an incomplete description of human reality.

All the world is a commodities exchange, and we are merely traders.

(Said no one ever.)

Econ 101 doesn't promote a dogma of free markets. CharlesWT does

Agreed. And not to pick on Charles, it's just the common libertarian trope.

Markets are a great mechanism for certain things. They are not a great mechanism for every thing.

What we are talking about here is not the threat of a centrally planned economy, or government price setting.

We are talking about local and state governments intervening to prevent businesses in particular places, in the context of catastrophic natural disaster, from enriching themselves by exploiting the misfortune of their neighbors.

Regarding competition and meritocracies, I don't see jacking the price of water, or gas, or food, or whatever, in the immediate aftermath of a hurricane as a sign of personal merit.

If we think liberty is nothing more than license to screw over other people, we've lost the plot.

https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/a23099217/hurricane-florence-pig-manure-coal-ash/

We don't need no stinkin' the rest of it either

yeah. thanks to those pig and chicken farms, eastern NC is a bad place for a convertible, even on a good day.

If I wanted to see America in a hoarding, price gouging attitude, I'd resume watching The Walking Dead.

Which I stopped watching because all of the internecine petty back-stabbing and treachery among the still human had me eventually rooting for the Zombie dead, who, to say nothing else for them, seemed highly singleminded in their rational self interest.

They, the Zombies, could perhaps have used a spokesperson like Sarah Huckabee sanders to burnish their behavioral choices in the area of face-chewing.

"they are merely upset at all of the unfounded criticism" she would intone
woodenly. "You'd lash out too. Next, I'll take a question from FOX News regarding the upside of unregulated rotting on the hoof."

Zombies, at least, value "brains".

The modern GOP, not so much.

CharlesWT: I rather thought I had excluded needy or desperate local merchants by my mention of shipping in the continental US, and clearly if anti-gouging legislation does not allow for necessary extra shipping costs (or, jrudkis, higher costs for suddenly purchasing extra stock of e.g.tanks) I (and probably others who think as I do) would consider that wrong. I do realise that my example was, by the standards of most of you, pretty simpleminded, but it has told me what I wanted to know. When CharlesWT says It's OK to sell something at whatever someone is willing to pay for it, he is clearly OK with a merchant charging so much that only the rich in the affected area can afford it, leaving the poor to depend on the theoretical charity of the Red Cross, or NGOs (or Walmart!) etc. I agree with most of what Pro Bono said at 03.33, but do think there should be exceptions in the case of e.g. war or disaster relief.

"For My flesh is real food, and My blood is real drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him."

To zombies, the living are all Christ.

Live video.

A repurposed Coast Guard tower 34 miles off the coast southeast of Wilmington, N.C.

Myrtle Beach Cam

..., he is clearly OK with a merchant charging so much that only the rich in the affected area can afford it, ...

Well, this would be redistribution from the wealthy to the not so wealthy. Which is what many of the gougers would be. People leasing trucks and loading them with things they think people in the affected area will pay a premium for.

Even if allowed, most local merchants wouldn't raise their prices very much if they expected to stay in business after the crisis is over. Exceptions might be gas stations and convenience stores on major highways that aren't as dependent on local patronage.

Do not sure I agree with any kind of price gouging, it is immoral. Taking advantage of a desperate situation is the definition of immoral and against pretty much all I believe. It is over the between economic freedom and basic humanity.

I am keeping all of you in the path of thed hurricane in my prayers.

Do not sure I agree with any kind of price gouging, it is immoral.

Why is doing well while doing good so bad?

Why is doing well while doing good so bad?

Because this is a widespread needs based emergency situation. When one 'gouges'under such circumstances there is a reasonable assumption the suppliers are not supplying "more" to the market, just asking for a higher price of existing inventory.

You might find this really really hard to believe, but during the 'emergency' of WWII there were price controls to prevent just this.

Yes. True story.

My fondest wish is to see the establishment of some isolated glibertarian paradise and see it face an existential crisis and watch the richest of them try to buy their way out.

Scum.

Charles, There is a line that beyond it your primary motivation should be caring of those in immediate need. That line is not the same for everyone, mine is the line where you consciously abuse your ability to take peoples money because they are desperate, particularly when they have done what they can to help themselves.

You are not doing good if you screw people just because you know you can.

Well said, Marty.

libertarianism really needs to find a way to deal with the fact that people are not what it's models say they should be.

You are not doing good if you screw people just because you know you can.

From my point of view, you're screwing people if deny them things they need just because you don't approve of the price they may pay for them.

Articles are already reporting shortages of gas and generators in the area.

Articles are already reporting shortages of gas and generators in the area.

Duke Energy is estimating that as many as three million of their four million customers in the area will lose power, and that many people will be w/o power for weeks. Millions of people are leaving the area all at once. No place stocks enough generators and gasoline to meet that kind of extreme demand.

Consider that w/o electricity to run pumps, the whole regional gasoline delivery system stops. The pipelines don't run, the transfer pumps into storage tanks and tanker trucks don't work, and the pumps that lift the fuel from underground storage into cars/cans don't work.

This storm is so strange. A couple of days ago, I was worried about my city being pummeled, but I think we'll be spared, except for a bit of wind and rain. The trajectory is so meandering. Really weird. I'm relieved. I'll donate in gratitude. A lot of people are going to be hurting.

...and that many people will be w/o power for weeks.

The operator has begun shutting down the Brunswick nuclear power plant between Wilmington and Cape Fear. There is considerable speculation that the 10-12 foot storm surge forecast for the plant's location, plus 30" of local rain and runoff from farther inland, will top the plant's flood barriers.

No place stocks enough generators and gasoline to meet that kind of extreme demand.

The gasoline shortages are said to be temporary at present due to customers pumping it out faster than it can be replenished.

In the absence of gouging laws, people might be in parking lots right now selling generators out of the back of U-Haul trucks.

In the absence of gouging laws, people might be in parking lots right now selling generators out of the back of U-Haul trucks.

are you trying to make libertarianism sound like a bunch of rationalizations designed to keep the rich alive at the expense of everyone else?

How is selling generators to anyone who wants to buy them preventing anyone else from being helped?

I think the take-away here is that, for most people, the libertarian ideal is not attractive.

Looks good on paper, sort of, but nobody wants to live there.

How is selling generators to anyone who wants to buy them preventing anyone else from being helped?

Did someone suggest that people not be allowed to sell generators?

At what price would it be worth getting a generator and a truck to haul it and driving however many miles to sell it? How many people would be willing or could afford to buy a generator at that price? Who's going to be in the parking lot looking for a generator at the last minute? How are they going to get the generator home?

Are we talking about small generators you can plug a refrigerator and some lights into?

Who's going to enforce anti-gouging laws so well that the kind of person who would otherwise throw generators into a truck and rush into a hurricane would decide against it? Who composes this would-be trucks-full-of-generators army?

I want some of whatever you smoked for breakfast, Charles.

Maybe the take-away is whether market pricing is an appropriate method to allocate resources in an emergency.

Hard to say, IMHO.

When demand greatly exceeds supply, then some form of rationing is going to occur.

Rationing by price is what CharlesWT prefers. With strict anti-gouging laws, it would be rationing by "first come, first served". There may be better outcomes, but I'm pretty sure they're going to look even closer to the dread SOCIALIST TYRANNY!

Please note that this the same situation in health care, where the "supply" is also life-critical.

'market' pricing (where the market allows gouging) is fine, if you're always the richest person around in an emergency. sucks to be anyone else.

I continue to sit here and shake my head.

Following a natural disaster, we do not want to be in the position of relying on market dynamics to supply needed supplies. With or without price controls.

People - individuals, communities, societies, cities counties states and nations - who are not insane recognize that disasters are possible, and they plan ahead so that they are able to respond to them.

At a certain point, the means required to respond to disasters exceeds what individuals can, in general, assemble for themselves. That is where other actors - non-profits, governments - step in.

In a not-insane world, the immediate needs of people who have been affected by disaster - water, food, shelter including heat, basic utilities, and someplace to go to the bathroom and maybe bathe - are provided to the people affected, by other people with whom they share a community of some kind, without regard for profit, from the resources that have been allocated to respond to disasters.

Right?

Life these days is just one whiskey tango foxtrot moment after another.

forgot medical care in my list of things to provide in the event of disaster. kindly consider it added to the list.

If all that stuff was happening, there would not be an opportunity to price gouge.

When russell wrote "whiskey tango foxtrot" he wasn't referring to government-supplied whiskey, so there would still be that. I'd want some friggin' whiskey and would pay through the nose to get it.

If all that stuff was happening, there would not be an opportunity to price gouge

No opportunity, because no need. Which is, more or less, my point.

FWIW I have no problem with people charging outrageous prices for "I survived Florence!" T-shirts.

I drink too much anyway, so the Serwer piece won't have much of an effect.

It's OK to sell something at whatever someone is willing to pay for it

This is over-generalized, IMO.

Under normal circumstances, in normal commerce, it is OK. Someone is willing to pay $100 for a shirt? OK. Take the hundred, sell the shirt.

But I think this changes when circumstances are not normal, when lives are involved, or great destruction. At that point the market's allocation of resources does not, I think match what most people think is best. Shall we water golf courses while some die of thirst, because the country club members are wealthy and can outbid the thirsty?

That said, much of this issue would go away if we had a sensible system of responding to natural catastrophe. Doing it by state is idiotic, because it leads to duplication, free riding, and crossed chains of command. I don't actually understand why we don't have a national stockpile of emergency supplies located at depots around the country so that some can be moved into affected areas quickly. It just seems like an obvious step to take, along with having trained personnel to do whatever is needed.

Would they be idle much of the time? Well, so is the army. It's not like nobody could possibly anticipate that there might be big hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, etc.

Ah, yes, the Whiskey Rebellion.

Price gougers receive their due:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=KdpKEs_dMHc

Another point.

The pro-gouging argument imagines an armada of pickup trucks laden with water, plywood, and whatnot, dashing to the scene of the disaster to profit from the situation.

Does that happen? I doubt it. How do they get through? How do people in the area find them? I suspect that most of the gouging is for supplies already on hand. That merely enriched the sellers, but does little to get more stuff in.

Price spikes in a natural disaster are a good example of a demand shift in the "immediate run," - right away. It takes a while for suppliers to react. The actual response is likely to be too small to have any significant effect.

Mp tweeted a few minutes ago that not a single Puerto Rican has perished in the North and South Carolina storm flooding.

What am I bid for this rare morsel of truth?

Ah, but is it a morsel of truth. I realize that most of the Puerto Ricans who relocated went to Florida. But none in the Carolinas?

He, Trump sips from the same font of "knowledge" as His SCOTUS nominee.

--TP

To counter your arguments countering price gouging, more arguments for. :)

"But the outrage at profit-seeking price gougers does not magically conjure critical supplies. When the volunteers do arrive, they’re often unskilled and further burden the fragile infrastructure. They also bring the wrong things: toys, extra clothes, and way, way, way too much bottled water. Meanwhile, shrieking outrage at the price-gougers on your television is no substitute for providing things that people actually need to buy."
Why Price-Gouging Helps People Recover Faster From Natural Disasters: You might grumble at having to pay high prices. But shortages turn disaster areas into looting zones as otherwise law-abiding citizens become desperate for essential supplies.


"Rather than being scams taking advantage of desperate people, higher prices are exactly what we need to ensure we don’t run out of necessities like water and gas. They are like flashing red lights to bottled water suppliers, bread makers, and gasoline distributors in other states, telling them Yes! You CAN redirect your stuff to North Carolina because you can still take care of your families when you do!"
North Carolina’s anti-price gouging law makes things worse, not better

From Charles link:
"Laws against “price gouging” are laws that tell suppliers they can’t break even."

That is just false. The NC price gouging law explicitly takes into account higher supply chain costs as acceptable impacts on prices.

“higher prices are exactly what we need to ensure we don’t run out of necessities like water and gas.”

This is so crazy. Higher prices is equivalent to running out, if you’re not rich.

Cleek, you just have to understand that, in Libertarian World everybody is, at the very least, well off. At minimum, they have money in the bank and are adding to it regularly. So higher prices only mean that they will (temporarily!) be saving less. Not really a major problem, obviously.

Ignore all those poor people beyond the curtain. They are just figments of your fevered imagination -- because if they weren't, the whole ideological edifice would collapse and we can't have that.

What am I bid for this rare morsel of truth?

I bid all of Charles WT's money.

mp travels to the Carolinas next week to play "Hit the doofus marks in the head with a roll of thrown paper towels."

He will address his "fellow Puerto Ricans."

Bring heads of rotten cabbage to thrown back at him.

Greet him like Johnny Reb greeted the Union garrison at Fort Sumter.


Given the libertarian role in causing climate change, this looks more like a long term scheme to profit off of generators.

It’s a telling social phenomenon of late capitalism that we are willing to construct elaborate computer networks to conduct secure transactions with each other — and in the process torpedoing our hopes at a clean energy future.

Bitcoin mining is greatest in countries where the cost of electricity is subsidized by the government.

In what country is the cost of electricity not subsidized by the government?

Perhaps I should have said heavily subsidized like China and Venezuela. Or is naturally cheap like Canada, hydroelectric and Iceland, geothermal.

Perhaps I should have said heavily subsidized like China and Venezuela.

I assume your point is that because it is being subsidized, all these Venezualans and Chinese are bitcoin mining and if it weren't they wouldn't be? yokay.

My point is that the libertarian impulse to argue against any regulation whatsoever as a hugh infringement of freedom and an illogical response is probably a big reason why we have so many problems with climate change and other similar phenomenon, cause that argumentation has been (and will always be) hijacked to give corporations cover. I know it's a subtle, as opposed to 'people need generators so it could never be 'price gouging'', but that's just the way I roll...

The wealthiest Republican donor in Ohio just announced he quit the party:
http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/406822-wealthiest-republican-supporter-in-ohio-quits-party

Tax breaks apparently aren’t everything all of the time.

OT, so: the fictitious identities of the two Russians in the Novichok case would be funny, if it didn't show how much contempt Putin and the Russians have for international opinion that they've done so little to cover their tracks (and of course they also want to sow fear and confusion):

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/novichok-suspects_uk_5b9ca9f8e4b013b0977aff8d?5le&utm_hp_ref=uk-homepage

(Text to avoid the moderation pit)

Remy: Bitcoin Billionaire (YouTube)

GftNC, it appears that the RT interview has had an impact in Russia:

Some viewers even noted that the interview itself had changed their opinion of the whole affair: “Not a very convincing interview at all … I wasn’t doubting the Russian government until I saw this interview,” was one comment.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2018/09/15/how-badly-did-russias-interview-with-the-skripal-poisoning-suspects-backfire/

Perhaps our administration isn't alone in having incompetence/shoot-yourself-in-the-foot issues.

doofus marks in the head with a roll of thrown paper towels."

He will address his "fellow Puerto Ricans."

Bring heads of rotten cabbage to thrown back at him.

While "heads of rotten cabbage" are traditional, for Trump I strongly suggest "rotting peaches".

"impeachment", any way we can.

In the absence of gouging laws, people might be in parking lots right now selling generators out of the back of U-Haul trucks.

I've been thinking about this some more. And it occurs to me that, if you look at it, the anti-gouging laws are actually there to protect the guys selling generators out of the back of U-Haul trucks.

Consider. With anti-gouging laws, people buying those generators know that, while the seller is making money (and rightly so), he isn't massively exploiting their dire straights. But without them, they have every reason to suspect that he is exploiting them. So sure, if they're rich, they pay anyway -- they can easily afford to. But most people can't afford to. So they take the 2nd Amendment approach to care for their families.

Hard on the sellers, that. Far better, if you are a seller, to have anti-gouging laws. Maybe you make a little less money. On the other hand, you're far more likely to survive to spend it. Think about it.

wj: the next step is to have heavily-armed gangs running the "gouging sales out of the back of the u-haul"; mostly abusing downtrodden disaster victims, but with occasional attacks by equally heavily-armed raiders.

Just like a post-apocalypse movie.

Give it another few years of DisasterTrumpism and we might be there.

Translation: "We're in no big hurry to clean up and rebuild."

"The state of North Carolina is currently in a state of emergency. That means our price gouging law is in effect and will remain so for at least 45 days. Price gouging, or charging too much during a crisis, is against the law."
Rebuilding after Hurricane Florence

Given that one reason these storms cause so much damage is failure to account for the effects of climate change, maybe rushing to rebuild isn’t the best idea?

Federal and state governments should stop subsidizing building and rebuilding in areas with high risks for wind and water damages.

That’s nice, how does encouraging people to quickly rebuild help with that?

Translation: "We're in no big hurry to clean up and rebuild."

you're insane. seek help.

What could possibly go wrong with this ...
https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/09/fema-will-test-a-system-that-would-allow-trump-to-text-directly-to-your-phone.html?
On Thursday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency will carry out its first test of a system that would allow the president to send a message directly to most U.S. mobile phones. “The EAS is a national public warning system that provides the president with the communications capability to address the nation during a national emergency,” explained FEMA on its website.

During the test, which is scheduled to take place Thursday at 2:18 p.m., cellphone users could receive a message with a header that reads “Presidential Alert.” The message will make it clear it’s a test. No one can opt out from the system....

What on earth can this mean other than teenage boys should get a pass on this kind of behaviour ?
https://www.politico.com/story/2018/09/16/trump-kavanaugh-allegations-response-826069
One outside Trump adviser was quick to suggest an effort to have Ford testify publicly amid the ongoing #MeToo wave would backfire on Democrats. “They’re playing a high-stakes game right now,” this adviser said. “You know there are a lot of people in this country who are parents of high school boys. This is not Anita Hill....

What could possibly go wrong with this ...

Hmmm...seems like I read about something like this in a book decades ago...oh, yeah, 1984...

If I get a presidential alert, I'll ignore it. If something important is going on, I'm sure I'll hear from one of the public safety agencies.

Under the heading ‘can’t fool all of the people all of the time’....
https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/09/17/ohio-2018-elections-senior-citizens-sherrod-brown-dewine-cordray-219914
Voters don’t always fit into neat socioeconomic stereotypes. Several retirees who came to see Brown discuss their pensions in Cambridge were still fuming about Clinton’s breezy observation on a visit to Ohio that she would “put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.” But Don Cameron, a self-described Reagan Democrat wearing a camouflage United Mine Workers T-shirt, said he’s far more upset about Trump’s apathetic response to Hurricane Maria: “He said he did so much for Puerto Rico? What a joke!” Wharton, the blunt-spoken Vietnam vet, brought up Trump’s change-the-subject attacks on black athletes who kneel during the national anthem, then surprised me by siding with the protesters.

Yes we should move everyone away from those places natural disasters happen. Uh, where is that again?

I am reasonably ambivalent on the Kavsnaugh charges.

What is alleged us quite bad, I am uncertain how bad.

Her description, it happened I think when I was fifteen at someones house I am not sure of, I cant remember who had the party or why, everyone there had one beer except thed two guys who were drunk when they got there.

It's hard to go back 35 years except for one thing, it clearly scared her. But not as much as getting caught drinking beer at a place she wasnt supposed to be.

So, I believe the entitled rich kid thought he could have some fun with the cute girl who didn't usually hang out with them, was drunk, took it too far and he and his friend were assholes.

I've now described the high school antics of most of the private school assholes I've ever known. Most of them escaped troubkloe to become good men who regret those days. I think punishing them now is stupid and unproductive.

If we had a way for him to express that regret without costing him a seat on the Supreme Court we could use it as a way to reinforce how bad that behavior is.

I did stupid things when I was young. Some worse than others. I grew up.

If we had a way for him to express that regret without costing him a seat on the Supreme Court we could use it as a way to reinforce how bad that behavior is.

One way coercive boys could show that they've grown up is to recognize women's right to make decisions about their own bodies. Just a thought.

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