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Sandy as election spoiler excuse

Races for the Senate, U.S. House, etc. and other issues of national importance.

Re: Sandy as election spoiler excuse

Postby rabble » Thu Nov 01, 2012 4:03 pm

Crap. First Obama was moving too fast and now it's not fast enough. It's getting hard to keep up.
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Re: Sandy as election spoiler excuse

Postby Ned Flanders » Thu Nov 01, 2012 4:09 pm

rabble wrote:Crap. First Obama was moving too fast and now it's not fast enough. It's getting hard to keep up.


Heck've a job Obama-ey!
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Re: Sandy as election spoiler excuse

Postby snoqueen » Thu Nov 01, 2012 4:27 pm

Now we're in Stage Two of a disaster. The first stage is when everyone's all helpful and nice. The second stage is when they start to get impatient (sometimes for cause), complain,and tear into one another.

We'll get it done, even so.
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Re: Sandy as election spoiler excuse

Postby kurt_w » Thu Nov 01, 2012 4:39 pm

I love it. Ned tries to cite an article that mentions neither FEMA nor Obama as evidence that people are unhappy with FEMA and Obama. They're literally not mentioned once in the article.

Can Ned actually read? Or is he just inventing stuff and hoping no one else will check his work?

The article seems to be entirely about people on Staten Island criticizing the Red Cross. I was under the impression that the Red Cross was a private non-profit organization, the kind of voluntary charity that conservatives like to hold up as an example of how we could solve all our problems without government.

YAFF (Yet another Flanders Fail).
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Re: Sandy as election spoiler excuse

Postby Talon Newsman » Thu Nov 01, 2012 4:41 pm

kurt_w wrote:Or is he just inventing stuff and hoping no one else will check his work?

It works that way over on Media Trackers. Why won't you let it here?
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Re: Sandy as election spoiler excuse

Postby kurt_w » Thu Nov 01, 2012 4:47 pm

Ned Flanders wrote:Heck've a job Obama-ey!


Two thoughts about this:

(1) It speaks volumes that even Ned understands that comparing Obama to Bush is a way to attack Obama. It's nice to know that Flanders has internalized the fact that the Bush Administration's record was one of unmitigated failure.

(2) Reminding people of how badly Bush and his disgraced FEMA head screwed up during Hurricane Katrina is probably not what Ned wants to be doing at this point.
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Re: Sandy as election spoiler excuse

Postby ArturoBandini » Thu Nov 01, 2012 6:12 pm

kurt_w wrote:The article seems to be entirely about people on Staten Island criticizing the Red Cross. I was under the impression that the Red Cross was a private non-profit organization, the kind of voluntary charity that conservatives like to hold up as an example of how we could solve all our problems without government.
I dunno, without more information about what was said at the event described by the article, it's tough to assign blame. The most acute of the criticisms being lobbed in the article were from a local government official, which strikes me as odd. A local government official should have better things to do than publicly criticize a private* organization that is trying to help. I can understand the frustration if he feels that they are not helping fast enough, but it's awfully rich for a politician to condemn the Red Cross for being at the limits of their capabilities when local government resources are probably also stretched to their breaking point.

This article gives some additional info about this press event. Basically, both FEMA and the Red Cross were slated to arrive in Staten Island on Thursday (today). Sure, one might arrive slightly before the other, but it's hard to say that either one has 'failed' in this instance.

*regarding the "private" status of the Red Cross - it has a somewhat unusual status as a "Patriotic Society" under the US Code and has it's own section (3001) to establish the corporate charter at the federal level. It is certainly a non-profit, but calling it entirely private seems a little strange. None of this is meant to be a criticism, just clarification.
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Re: Sandy as election spoiler excuse

Postby ArturoBandini » Thu Nov 01, 2012 6:45 pm

Older article about price gouging in the wake of a hurricane.
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Re: Sandy as election spoiler excuse

Postby Bland » Thu Nov 01, 2012 7:32 pm

ArturoBandini wrote:Older article about price gouging in the wake of a hurricane.
This makes no sense to me.

The article starts by pointing out that the price of ice was higher after the storm because it had to be trucked in from further away which costs money in gas and truck rental. So far so good. It then goes on to claim that if only people had been allowed to charge $8 for a bag of ice, more people would have wanted in on that sweet post-storm ice money so the supply would have increased and the price would have dropped. But if the price dropped, it would no longer be profitable to truck ice from far away - surely the cost of gas wasn't magically dropping to keep pace with the ice business, was it? - so the flow of ice would stop and then everyone would be right back where they started, wouldn't they? Seems like an extremely short-sighted and temporary solution. What am I missing here?
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Re: Sandy as election spoiler excuse

Postby Donald » Thu Nov 01, 2012 7:38 pm

The problem here is that local officials and people in general think they need to get everything up and running all at the same time. So they encourage all businesses to open and people to go to work. This eats up gas and creates traffic jams so the real work of getting things up and running gets delayed, and food can't be distributed. Fuckin' dumb.

The financial district isn't needed right now, nor is the entertainment industry. Grocery and drug stores are needed, and places that sell things people actually need to survive. Make all those other fuckers stay home for a week. We can get along without stock trades, movies and theatre for a week. Let the real workers get in to fix the utilities, subways and water facilities without the "knowledge workers" getting in the fucking way.

If you think you are going to jack up prices in an emergency you are worse than Mitt Romney. Put them in jail.
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Re: Sandy as election spoiler excuse

Postby ArturoBandini » Thu Nov 01, 2012 8:01 pm

Bland wrote:The article starts by pointing out that the price of ice was higher after the storm because it had to be trucked in from further away which costs money in gas and truck rental. So far so good. It then goes on to claim that if only people had been allowed to charge $8 for a bag of ice, more people would have wanted in on that sweet post-storm ice money so the supply would have increased and the price would have dropped. But if the price dropped, it would no longer be profitable to truck ice from far away - surely the cost of gas wasn't magically dropping to keep pace with the ice business, was it? - so the flow of ice would stop and then everyone would be right back where they started, wouldn't they? Seems like an extremely short-sighted and temporary solution. What am I missing here?
Um, a basic understanding of supply and demand equilibrium. (sorry, you just lofted that one up there for me...)

If the supply of ice drops while demand is still high (which wouldn't happen for obvious reasons, but it's your hypothetical so I'm going with it), the price goes right back up, thereby making it profitable again to bring in ice from elsewhere by truck. If enough people bring ice into the area to the degree that they can't make a profit on it, then that's a signal that there is enough ice supply and there is no ice emergency anymore to worry about. At this point, these people are not "right back where they started", but rather they've solved the problem.

There is no reason to think that the ideal equilibrium price was $8, nor that $8 was too high or too low. These guys were just the first movers in the price discovery process. If they sold out of their ice immediately at $8/bag, they would sell their next load at more than that price. If no one is buying at $8, they might drop their asking price to $6 or less. If no one buys any ice at even $1, then they misjudged the situation and they lose money.
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Re: Sandy as election spoiler excuse

Postby Huckleby » Thu Nov 01, 2012 8:41 pm

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Re: Sandy as election spoiler excuse

Postby Donald » Thu Nov 01, 2012 10:21 pm

I think it's the difference between a community and a bunch of selfish fucking idiots. What decent person is going to go through that sort of fucking calculation when people are in danger of not surviving? A sociopath. If I'm the store owner I'd give the ice away, or at most charge my cost, and say, "You're going through hell, and I can help. Don't worry about it now." I think you would find people wanting to patronize that store later. If you gouge someone, they ain't coming back.
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Re: Sandy as election spoiler excuse

Postby pjbogart » Thu Nov 01, 2012 10:39 pm

I think business owners are thinking like Arturo and there's only so much critique you can throw their way. Business owners are in the business of making money, regardless of their trade. If you have 100 customers but only 50 bags of ice and each one of the customers wants 5 bags, you can't help but go through a little auction in your head. If you sell all 50 bags to the first customer, he's just going to unload them for a profit. Might as well take that profit for yourself. How bad do you want this ice? Do you want it more than the 99 people standing behind you?

Markets can change pretty rapidly according to supply and demand. Obviously, in the wake of a tragedy like this supply is very low and demand is very high. When some ice company owner in Pittsburgh hears that ice is going for $10 a bag in Philadelphia, he's going to load up every truck he has and ship the ice there, which will help bring the price down.

Gouging sucks, but you can't legislate altruism. If there's money to be made, someone's going to make it.
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Re: Sandy as election spoiler excuse

Postby ArturoBandini » Thu Nov 01, 2012 10:59 pm

pjbogart wrote:I think business owners are thinking like Arturo and there's only so much critique you can throw their way. Business owners are in the business of making money, regardless of their trade.
Thanks for throwing some weight into this discussion.

I think that a lot of business owners actually do not think the way I do, and do not raise prices in response to emergency conditions. They justify this in the name of preserving their reputation as a "good citizen" of the community. Community perception is certainly something of value, but allowing the development of a shortage of much-needed goods during an emergency situation does real material harm to the community. The psychology behind emotional objections to price gouging is based in irrational thinking and economic ignorance. We would all be better off if we didn't take offense at the inevitable ups and downs of resource availability, and accordingly, prices.

Anger at retailers who raise prices in response to resource shortages is almost like a village witch hunt - the anger is very real, but the motivation for the anger is irrational and illegitimate. Stop getting duped into witch hunts, people!
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