Monday, August 23, 2010

Quote of the Day: P.J. O'Rourke

"The free market is not an ideology or a creed or something we're supposed to take on faith, it's a measurement. It's a bathroom scale. I may hate what I see when I step on the bathroom scale, but I can't pass a law saying I weigh 160 pounds. Authoritarian governments think they can pass that law—a law to change the measurement of things."
~ P.J. O'Rourke in the WSJ

Grouch:  Where do we see examples of the law changing the measurement of things?  Think any kind of wage and price control, think government healthcare, think minimum wage.  In my own case, I had three kids searching for summer jobs a couple of months ago.  They had a devil of a time finding any work.  If any of them stepped on scale to measure their worth to an employer the reading would have been $5.00 an hour.  When politicians pass a minimum wage law that sets the scale to $7.25 an hour not many teenagers with no job experience or skills measure up.  Then the pols are baffled at why only one in four teenagers can find a job, but that is what happens when you rig the scale.

HT: Carpe Diem


  1. Is true for any kind of artificial price setting including, in my opinion, the setting of the price of short term funds by the Federal Reserve. The distortions just ripple out from the center until things are so far out of whack no one can figure it out.
    I'd like to see the manipulators thrown out and Austrian theory given a legitimate shot.

  2. It would interesting to see just how the US would under the Austrian Theory--- probably a lot closer to what the founders envisioned.