Politicians forget (ignore?) basic economics.

Oops Migden Sandoval

Let’s rewrite a few headlines to illustrate the point.

Case 1

The original headline reads, “Supervisor looks to limit liquor licenses.” Supervisor Gerardo Sandoval seeks to add a ballot measure banning any future City liquor licenses.

This headline should read, “San Francisco Supervisor seeks to inconvenience (but not prohibit) citizens’ access to a specific range of legal products (alcohol), while also restricting trade from further competition (further liquor licenses), entitling existing holders of permits to become unjustly enriched by these misguided attempts at reducing violence. Oops!”

This legislation will not reduce violence. It will increase the value of liquor licenses for private individuals or corporations that own existing licenses. It will also inconvenience taxpaying citizens that desire liquor products, especially those in growing areas such as Mission Bay that have yet to develop retail outlets. Why are these people to be inconvenienced with no liquor stores in their new community just because we have a stupid Supervisor?

Correlation does not indicate causation. At best, a high prevalence of liquor stores may be correlated with lower income or high violence, but in no way does the presence or lack of liquor stores serve as a cause or solution to violence.

Case 2

The original headline reads, “Bill aims to maintain rent-controlled units.” State Senator Carole Migden (D-San Francisco) introduced a bill Wednesday that would allow local governments to order property owners to replace every demolished rent-control unit with an equivalent rent-control unit somewhere else in the City.

The headline should read, “State Senator Carole Migden wishes to doom San Francisco to rental market failure hell ad infinitum in the mistaken belief that price ceilings are an effective tool to reduce rental unit prices instead of promoting incentives for builders and owners to increase supply. Oops!”

Rent control is a price ceiling. Price ceilings don’t work.

Politicians, if this is the best you can do, please just stop making any new legislation. Go back to scolding sports celebrities.

By the way, this is a prime example of hippie conservatism.

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