Washington, D.C. slides into Soviet-style conditions

Anyone alive during the Soviet era remembers that one of the hallmarks of Soviet countries was chronic shortages of goods.  Without the profit motive, production never kept up with demand.  Rationing was the order of the day.  Now, in Washington, D.C., rationing is also the order of the day.  D.C.'s mayor, Muriel Bowser, has been asking people to ration voluntarily.  However, we all know that if grocery items continue to be in short supply, mandatory rationing will soon replace that voluntary shtick.

It seems that this rationing rule has been in place for over a week now, via a tweet from Bowser's government, although the internet just caught up with it:

Twitter screen grab.

This has a decidedly Soviet feel about it.  When governments interfere with the flow of goods and services, those goods and services cease to exist.  I figured that out when my father, in 1987, had the opportunity to visit his sister.  She was a devout communist who left Israel in 1949 to return to East Berlin so she could live in her communist paradise.

When Dad saw her, she was retired, having loyally served the German communist government for over three decades.  Her reward, despite being a single woman, was that she got to live in an apartment with its own bathroom.  In addition to convenience, this had the added benefit of giving her an extra sink — something of a necessity because her kitchen sink was broken.  When Dad asked how long she'd been suffering through this inconvenience, she told him "Nine years."  Then, seeing the disbelief on his face, she hastened to add, "But I'm on the list!"

That's how socialist economies work, and that's what we're seeing in D.C.

In a post on the subject, Sundance added a pertinent point, which is that government interference often has unexpected results.  In the case of D.C., the problem isn't simply that the supply chain is broken; it's also that the supplies are misdirected:

The shortage of food products, in/around the metro-DC area, is a direct consequence of that same area demanding Vaccination Passports to enter any venue providing "food away from home."

The vaccine passport mandate blocks people from restaurants, dining, bars and other sources of food.  The process forces people into grocery stores where they are encountering shortages.

In essence, what we are seeing in the DC-Metro area is a microcosm of what previously happened nationally with shortages in food supplies and basic essentials.  The retail food delivery system in our nation is not designed or prepared to shift large numbers of people out of the "food away from home" lane and into the "food prepared at home lane."  It really is that simple.

To understand, think of the toilet paper shortages in early 2020.  There actually was enough toilet paper in America.  However, it was at offices and commercial spaces, where people usually spend most of their waking hours.  That's why, when I went to get my hair cut, my hairdresser offered me rolls of toilet paper.  She had too many rolls for a business with no customers, while her few customers had too few rolls because stores weren't set up for so much homeowner demand.

As the I, Pencil video shows, every consumer product is the result of thousands of individual decisions that respond in real-time to market forces.  When the government shows up, it's like Godzilla stomping on Tokyo, utterly destroying a functioning city — or nation.

The only good thing about all that's happened in the last two years is that it's given Americans a front-row seat on the perils of a government-managed economy.  Let's hope that voters figure out that the way to return us to a true normal is to replace every elected official with a free-market, constitutional conservative who trusts the American people and lets them get back to the ordinary business of their daily lives, unimpeded by non-stop government mandates on health, trucking, shipping, shopping, manufacturing, and everything else.

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