Hideous Pigass Conservative of the Day

John Stossel is a lying scumbag who regularly uses the platform that ABC inexplicably continues to afford him to promote his asinine agenda, including smearing Democrats, denying the existence of global warming, wringing his hands about the horrors of taxation, trying to discredit organic foods, mocking workers’ safety regulations, spinning science funding, and general rightwing propagandizing. (Among many others.) Stossel claims to be a libertarian, or libertarianish, but his latest screed at Townhall (you can get a link to the original Townhall column from Media Matters; I'm not linking to them) proves him to be a coldhearted, pigass conservative through and through, as he defends price gougers for making sure necessities go to those who really need it.
Consider this scenario: You are thirsty -- worried that your baby is going to become dehydrated. You find a store that's open, and the storeowner thinks it's immoral to take advantage of your distress, so he won't charge you a dime more than he charged last week. But you can't buy water from him. It's sold out.

You continue on your quest, and finally find that dreaded monster, the price gouger. He offers a bottle of water that cost $1 last week at an "outrageous" price -- say $20. You pay it to survive the disaster.

You resent the price gouger. But if he hadn't demanded $20, he'd have been out of water. It was the price gouger's "exploitation" that saved your child.

It saved her because people look out for their own interests. Before you got to the water seller, other people did. At $1 a bottle, they stocked up. At $20 a bottle, they bought more cautiously. By charging $20, the price gouger makes sure his water goes to those who really need it.
Got that? Raising prices saves babies. Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t he suggesting that the rich have no self-control whatsoever and will gorge themselves endlessly beyond their need, even in a life or death situation, unless someone steps in to stop them? Who needs a social conscience when we’ve got The Market?
Might the water have been provided by volunteers? Certainly some people help others out of benevolence. But we can't count on benevolence. As Adam Smith wrote, "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer or the baker, that we can expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest."

Consider the storeowner's perspective: If he's not going to make a big profit, why open up the store at all? Staying in a disaster area is dangerous and means giving up the opportunity to be with family in order to take care of the needs of strangers. Why take the risk?
What a wanker! Aside from the fact that the reason we can’t count on benevolence is because of pricks like him who would probably hoard his lifetime supply of water even from mothers of dying children if The Market failed to regulate his unmitigated greed, he conveniently ignores that it was, in fact, the responsibility of the government to see to it that its citizens didn’t die of thirst after a massive natural disaster. (Not to mention that most storeowners didn’t stay around to reap huge profits or be benevolent, but turned tail like anyone else who get out; I can only imagine his opinion of those who “looted” their stores for water.) This guy is totally unbelievable. And ABC should be renamed Wankco for continuing to keep his pigass on their payroll.

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