In 1968 I visited some of my relatives in Poland. It was my first encounter with a Communist country and because years earlier I had read We the Living by Ayn Rand, nothing I saw surprised me.
Communism can be summed up in two words: frustration and stupidity.
The citizens under Communism feel constant frustration because they are prevented from obtaining enough food, clothing, living space or freedom because of the stupidity of their government which insists on meddling in the economy of the country.
For example, in Poland back then, the government decided people should not pay more than so many zlotys for a pound of butter because they thought it was morally wrong for greedy milk farmers to make too much money and anyway more people would be able to buy butter.
The result? There was no butter to be had in grocery stores. I'm not talking about a shortage of butter where each store only had so many sticks to go around, I'm talking about zero bars of butter. Not one single stick in the entire city of Bialystok.
Then my cousin got a phone call from a close friend from Kraków who said they got hold of some butter. Krakow is some 310 miles from Bialystok. My cousin and I made the trip in a little over 5 hours (yes I drive fast and there were very few cars on the roads). I paid 5 bucks for the butter or about 100 times the government-controlled price. Why did I pay so much? Simple - because none was available at the government price.
This is what one has to do to get butter in a country where the government sticks its nose into the economy.
What happened in Poland is a consequence of the law of conservation of energy. Energy may neither be created nor destroyed. If a million people can afford butter at ten zlotys per pound, then forcing the price to be one zloty per pound in order to enable 10 million people to buy it, will cause the butter to disappear from the white market and reappear on the black market where only 10,000 people can afford to buy it for 1,000 zlotys per pound.
The farmer will not work ten times as hard to make ten times less money. What he will do is make less butter and sell it for more money because now he needs an underground menage to stealthily distribute his wares.
Anyone who does not understand this simple lesson in economics is an idiot.
Which brings us to Senator Dick Durbin.
I Can Haz Credit?
Flickr-User: Tony Webster
I'll tell you what is not good business practice: the government interfering in business. Exactly what business is it of the government what a bank charges merchants for debit card processing? American liberals obviously have not learned any lesson from the stupidity of Communists meddling in business and ruining their own countries.
I'm waiting for Obama and his crew to start telling farmers how much to sell butter for. I better get my car tuned up for long trips.
See my previous article on Communist stupidity: Government Run Food Care.
Washington Post, Obama blasts Bank of America debit card fee
President Obama slammed Bank of America’s $5 debit card card fee in an interview with ABCnews.com and Yahoo on Monday, calling the charge “not good business practice.”
“You don’t have some inherent right just to, you know, get a certain amount of profit, if your customers are being mistreated,” he said. Later, he added, “this is exactly the sort of stuff that folks are frustrated by.”