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Mar 15 2020

Toilet Paper Madness

Although Peggy Noonan says it is “rotten advice” to tell people not to panic over Wuhan virus, even she will probably admit that there is no sane reason to hoard toilet paper. Over 90% of it is produced in this country, and most of the rest in Canada or Mexico; if people didn’t hoard it, there would be no problem with supply. Yet we are subjected to scenes like this:

The Babylon Bee jokes about Bernie Sanders wanting to “seize the means of toilet paper production.” Parody is barely a half-step ahead of reality. Sanders has been sympathetic (see here and here) toward the socialist regime in Venezuela, which did exactly that. Via Daily Beast:

Venezuelans hoarded the commodity in 2013 as a result of a drop in production, leading the government to seize a toilet paper factory in an effort to ensure more supply. It failed to do the trick.

The beauty of the free market is that it provides what people want. If people go insane and decide that they want to fill their garages with excess toilet paper so as to fend off a respiratory virus, the market will provide it. However, it may take a while for supply to catch up with demand. In the meantime, some will have to go without because others succumbed to panic and stopped thinking straight.

Dave Morrison weighs in on coronavirus and the toilet paper apocalypse:

On tips from Lyle, Frances J, Dragon’s Lair, and MrRightWingDave.

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