A few days ago I posted Boring “Survivalist” Successes. Tangentially, my post bumped into economics. That wasn’t the point but while I was pondering the epic shortage of .22 ammo I touched briefly on inflation. I posted this:
“Like everything, the price of ammo has gone through the roof.*”
The asterisk went to a couple hundred words hastily tacked on the end of my post. I ranted that I’m sick of being fed crap from the press about a total lack of inflation when I can see it myself.
Walk into a grocery store and pick up a goddamn can of tuna. Then find out what the price was a few years ago. The esoteric and difficult science of subtraction will verify right then and there that the cost has gone up (or the can has gotten smaller). Unless we assign the change to magic elves… that’s inflation. I can do the same with chicken feed, truck tires, chainsaw oil, etc…
To quote Chico Marx: “Well, who you gonna believe, me or your own eyes?”
But hey, it’s just expensive tuna right? Also I was supposedly talking about .22 ammo.
As soon as I got back on track with ammo I bumped into another pet peeve; “hoarding”. I know .22 ammo is in short supply. I know this because it’s not on the shelves. America is currently a place where tofu is plentiful and .22 ammo is absent. We’re screwed!
The question is why? Ten minutes with Google indicates the same factories are churning out the same amount of ammo as before. I’m also doubtful that the Feds are buying much .22. (Since when does the Fed consume cheap plinking rounds? They like calibers more effective for shooting people.) Also there’s no indication of more consumption elsewhere. (A hard fought defense against invasion by squirrels and paper targets?)
Obviously it’s getting purchased and stacked in various garages and basements. People who formerly bought .22 in dribs and drabs are now buying it by the shitload. Pretty much everyone else has come to a similar conclusion.
Then, from out of left field (and I mean literally the left ass cheek of freakin’ Marxist redistributive economic theory) comes the complaint; “those bastards are ‘hoarding’ it”.
I hate that term! “Hoarding” like “gouging” is simply a word used by people who disagree with what you’ve done with your money. I expect crap like that from Socialist morons but not from the gunnie’ crowd.
Freedom means freedom. It doesn’t mean freedom to buy ammo but only if I’ve already got mine. Free citizens can buy all they can afford. They can stack it like Legos and add it to beer can sculptures. They can stockpile eleventy zillion rounds of .22 in their mom’s basement. They can use it to make a maze for a pet weasel. They can piss on it, use it for poker chips, paint it blue, bury it, sell it on e-bay, or put it on a pedestal and worship it. It’s their money and if they want to buy .22 by the freight train that’s none of my business. Nor does it have to make sense. If a mall ninja who’ll never ever set down the tactical Twinkie and head to the range thinks he needs 30 crates to hold back the invading Bulgarian army (which somehow can’t armor up against squirrel rounds?); so be it.
Freedom means respecting others as they make their own choices. I added this:
“[I]f I hear any horse shit about “hoarding” in the comments I’ll strike it. Americans are free citizens. They can buy whatever the hell they can afford and do whatever the hell they want with it… including amassing great piles and lying on it like Scrooge McDuck. ‘Hoarding’ is a word coined by the economically illiterate to define a situation where people do something with their money that doesn’t meet with their approval.”
What can I say. I had a bee up my bonnet that day.
The point is that there is an instant and ready solution to shortages. Price.
If people descend on WalMart* and buy a month’s supply by noon, then WalMart fucked up. The price was artificially too low and WalMart let that money walk out the door. We all hear stories of the big mean jerk who bought it at WalMart and then sold it on E-bay at a profit. Which, ahem… is just a way of saying a small operator got the profit WalMart refused. It was a price differential just laying there on the ground. Why be angry at the guy who picked it up and put the profit in his own pocket.
Raise the price. If they keep paying, smile all the way to the bank. Raise it again. If they keep paying, smile more! In theory the perfect price is when the last box is sold one minute before the next shipment arrives and not a minute before.
Also, if the market reflected the true demand, it would encourage more factory investment in making the damn stuff in the first place. That too is the whole point of prices. Everyone (or almost everyone) reading my blog knows how to reload and the rest can figure it out. There is some price point somewhere where you’d tell your boss to stuff it and build an ammo factory in your garage. (Admittedly that price point is pretty high… but it exists.) There’s also a price where you’d park the trusty Ruger 10/22 and gear up in .17 HMR.
So I have to live in a world where stores (for some deranged reason) maintain an artificially low price and everyone bitches about “hoarders”.
The Bullshit Two-Fer:
At least there’s nobody so stupid as to press my buttons on inflation and hoarding at the same time. Whoops, not so fast! Here’s a link from another group that can’t understand shit about economics; the Fed. (Hat tip to Borepatch.) It turns out the Fed is looking all over for inflation and simply can’t find where they left it.
“Though American consumers might dispute the notion that inflation has been low, the indicators the Fed follows show it to be running well below the target rate of 2 percent…”
So the Fed can’t find something that cost $1.00 last year and costs $1.03 today? Really? Have they looked up their ass?
So what explains this tragic stability in prices?
“the central bank branch published this week blames the low level of money movement in large part on consumers and their “willingness to hoard money.”
Got that? If you have money, the Fed knows what you should do with it. You should go out and spend it. If you didn’t you’re making the wrong choice. Of course the wrong choice is defined as not the choice the Feds want you to make. Or, as is so commonly heard these days “hoarding”. You see, the problem with “hoarders” is that:
“…people are sitting on cash rather than spending it.”
Yep, you thought the money was yours but it’s not. It’s the Feds and you’re messing up their delicate system of unawareness by not running out and dropping your savings on… stuff.
So there you go. The price of everything is creeping upwards but this is not “inflation” because the Feds can’t discover it. Sellers won’t raise the price of ammo so it’s sold out. This is “hoarding” and not mis-pricing. And furthermore if you keep your money in your pocket (instead of buying .22 ammo?) that too is hoarding.
Someday I’ll find a single new article that includes “no inflation”, “hoarding”, and “gouging”. That will be the day my skull implodes.
* I don’t mean to pick on WalMart exclusively. Sellers with names like Duck Hill and ones that rhyme with Crabellas are doing the same thing. Keeping the price low and selling out.