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IPFS News Link • Natural Disasters

Government Is Getting in the Way of Relief Efforts

• by Walter Block

Hurricane Ida has left in her wake all kinds of physical destruction. Power lines down, no electricity, roofs blown right off, floods, trucks overturned, trees down, and dozens killed.

She has also played havoc with economics.

In the aftermath of Ida, there have been long lines of people waiting to purchase generators, fuel, food, water, ice, and all sorts of other groceries and pharmaceuticals. But what is the economic significance of large queues? Anyone who has taken a course in microeconomics 101 can tell you: demand is greater than supply. And what, in turn, does that mean? It implies that prices are too low, below equilibrium, in any case.

Well, why don't they just rise? Isn't that what naturally occurs when demand exceeds supply? Is that due to "market failure" the bogeyman of left wing economists? Not a bit of it. Rather, this is the fault of government.