The Price Gouging of Government

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Money Government

Government officials are quick to use the word “gouge” when referring to someone raising prices above a level considered normal ( by them).  If there is a crisis and the price of something goes up immediately afterwards, the cry of gouging begins.  But lets look at the phenomena of raising prices and see if such an action might be more rational than most people believe.  To make this clear, lets suppose you have few water pumps you bought several years ago and never used.  You have never had a need for them and even though you have advertised them at a price that was less than you paid for them, they still set in your garage.  Now a rain storm comes to your area and the rain causes flooding and several people put ads in the newspaper wanting a pump like you have in your garage.  So you decide to have an auction.  Many people show up and bid on your pumps and they sell for much more than you would normally pay for them.  Have you gouged?  Of course not.  So how does a government official determine that a gas station that charges more than he normally would get is gouging?  Does not the gas station owner have the right to ask enough for the gas that is now harder to get to maximize his profit?  He could ask twenty dollars a gallon and if people want to pay more for faster availability what is wrong with that?  If others choose to sell cheaper to take away his business, what is wrong with that?  And if all stations only asked one price constantly would not this constitute price fixing?

Why is it all right for government to fix prices ( like the Post Office ) but private business has to worry about the stigma of gouging?  How do we know that a 50 cent stamp for first class mail delivery is not a whole lot more than we need to be paying?  Without competition what is the fair market value of a stamp?  Lets look at our education prices and consider whether or not the taxpayer is being gouged.  What is the fair market value of the education of a child?  How will we ever know when there is no competition to gauge it by?

Now lets look at our tax gathering mechanism and see if that constitutes gouging.  At what point is it excessive?  There is no law that defines how much of a person’s income can be confiscated so when it comes to government taxation the sky’s the limit.  Therefore you don’t hear the term gouging when referring to government taxation.  But there is a limit.  Excessive taxation is one of the actions that creates revolutions.  Excessive taxation is also evident when there is wasted revenue, redistribution of wealth and regulation of business.  Lets take these three one at a time .  Wasted revenue means the government is taking more money than it needs to take.  That’s gouging by their definition.  Secondly redistribution of wealth. Why does money need to be taken from people working and earning it to people who aren’t?  There is nothing justifying such an action and history has shown the futility and injustice that has resulted from attempts to do so.  The government taking money for a purpose that accomplishes injustice as an agency created to provide “justice for all” can only be classified as tax gouging.  And finally, regulation of business.  What is accomplished by government instituting regulations for business owners?  Business provides goods and services through a market that has competition which lowers prices to the level at which the most efficient producer can make a profit.  How can the government improve on that concept?  Government allows no competition in enterprises it controls so we don’t know if that service could be provided  at a lower price or more efficiently.  But we do know that it works for all private industries.  High prices are lowered by competition.  Look at computers.  When was the last time you saw a price reduction on first class stamps.?  Speaking of regulation, why is regulation so needed for private enterprise but can be suspended for government?  The United States was founded on the principle of limiting government to only certain functions consonant with its nature.  But it has ignored that regulation and stuck its claws into every kind of business that has been created.  The government has arrogantly shown that it must tell everyone what to do , when to do it, how much to charge and they will be the protective agency that collects the loot to carry out its nefarious regulation.  The protection rackets are notorious for price gouging.  When a legal facsimile implements the same strategy the word gouging disappears.  But it remains in the private sector where it is used to erroneously define perfectly rational actions by private individuals.  This is a con game that needs to be identified , refuted and dismissed. If gouging is to be used it must be properly used to identify the gouging taxes on a gallon of gas , the gouging taxes on the paycheck of every working American, the gouging taxes on property that makes ownership a burden and the gouging taxes that continue to rise as our currency is debased, our national debt spirals out of control and our government officials take credit for a measly one third of one percent cut of all government spending over the next five years.

Our media has been hoodwinked by the government’s charade and since they hang on the politicians slang without critical analysis no one sees or reports what is really going on.  To today’s reporter popularity is king.  Critique and skeptical analysis are becoming unknown.  Someone in authority says something and it is analyzed to the extent it fits in the popular lingo.  Thus most analyses are superficial, partisan and barely touch the edge of the issue.  Gouging is a perfect example of this.  It has been accepted just as the government officials want it to be accepted where it only applies to private price setting and is ignored in the public arena as inappropriate.  This duping has been effectual for the exoneration of government but it is not leading or even leaning toward what all journalists and all human beings should consider paramount.  The truth.

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The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author and are not not necessarily either shared or endorsed by iPatriot.com.

Dale Netherton

Author of four published books, former Marine, forester, former plant services manager,former KT facilitator, former campgound builder and manager, handyman now retired to writing , chess , golf and fishing. ISU graduate, M.B.A. from Nova University and longtime supporter of ARI. http://www.amazon.com/Dale-L.-Netherton/e/B00G1T6A26/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

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