Dear Editor:

It is truly amazing how ignorant most people are of basic economics. A case in point would be the outrage over increased gas prices in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Price gouging by service stations was the battle cry of politicians and journalists who foster the economic ignorance of the general population.

What is called price gouging is in fact a basic market mechanism to limit demand in times of shortage. If gas stations had kept their prices at pre-Sandy levels, there would have been even more of a mob scene at the pumps than there was. By allowing prices to rise, the marketplace limits demand and ensures a continued supply. Isn’t it better to temporarily pay more for something and know it will be there or be "protected" by government price controls than either run out or have it rationed by some bureaucrat?

Our corpulent governor, Mr. Christie, who is supposed to be a Conservative Republican, is evidently as ignorant of the free market and how it is supposed to function as many in the media are.

The gas in the tanks at any station is the property of the owners and they should be able to sell it at any price they choose; it doesn’t belong to society or the public. In a free society all economic exchanges, just like all personal social interactions, must be based on voluntary consent by all participants. The alternative is a collectivized "command" economy, also known as socialism or fascism.

In times of natural disasters there is nothing wrong with people helping others, provided it is done privately and voluntarily. Forced giving or sharing by government edict can never be justified; it is theft pure and simple!

While one can feel sympathy toward those who lost oceanfront homes at the Jersey Shore, let’s remember that most of those homes wouldn’t have been built there were it not for Federal Flood Insurance. So you see, government to a certain extent helped create this situation, proving once again what we Libertarians have known for years: "Government isn’t the solution; it’s the problem!"

Mark Richards,
West Milford