Capitalism vs. Price Gouging: How Much Would You Charge for a Bottle of Water?

In Texas, prices for water, gasoline and hotel rooms have skyrocketed in the wake of Tropical Storm Harvey, which flooded Houston and is expected to remain on the Gulf Coast for a few more days.

People are reporting that a case of water costs $99 and gas costs as much as $10 per gallon. This past weekend, there were more than 500 complaints about price gouging, or raising the cost of goods to an exploitative price, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton told CNBC.

A Best Western near Corpus Christi was charging $321.89 a night, almost tripled from the room’s normal rate of $120, KXAN reported. The attorney general’s office has delivered a subpoena to the motel in question after finding that nearly 40 guests were similarly over-charged.

The state has a penalty of $20,000 for those found guilty of price gouging, and the fine can be as much as $250,000 if the victim is age 65 or older.

The state defines price gouging as:

  1. Selling or leasing fuel, food, medicine or another necessity at an exorbitant or excessive price; or
  2. Demanding an exorbitant or excessive price in connection with the sale or lease of fuel, food, medicine or another necessity.

While price gouging is illegal in Texas, it’s an undecided question for some conservatives who value the free market. On radio Tuesday, Glenn and the guys debated the ethics of price gouging and whether or not there is a benefit to letting the market stay unregulated even during a disaster.

Stu was alone in being certain in his opinion.

“Stu is just a pure capitalist, ‘screw ‘em all, let ‘em eat each other,’” Glenn joked about Stu’s perspective.

Estimating that a case of water had 24 bottles, Stu pointed out that you would be paying around $4 per bottle, which is roughly what you might pay at a baseball game. “That’s not even price gouging. That is event pricing,” he said.

Glenn couldn’t quite get past the fact that water is the most fundamental human necessity.

“I’m really torn on this because I mean, water is water. … It’s life-saving,” he said.

GLENN: So here's -- here's a -- if we may have an intellectual conversation about something that we are all really torn on, except for Stu. Stu is just a pure capitalist, screw them all, let them eat each other under the bridge.

STU: Not accurate in any way.

GLENN: I know.

PAT: He's a godless animal.

JEFFY: Right. Hates people.

GLENN: Hates people. Wants your children to die.

But there's a price gouging thing that's going on here in Texas with water and gas and everything else. And I'm really torn on this. Because, I mean, water is water. You got to have water. It's life-saving.

PAT: And they're charging $99 for a case of water.

GLENN: Okay. That's kind of a problem.

PAT: That's a lot.

STU: Is it? What's a case of water? Twenty-four? So let's say, you're at, what? Four bucks a bottle of water. I pay that at every freaking baseball game I go to. Every game I go to, $4 a water is a very reasonable price.

JEFFY: Absolutely, it is.

STU: That's not even price gouging. That is event pricing. That is legitimately event pricing. If I go to a movie, I'm paying $4 for a bottle of water.

GLENN: And you know what, that's actually what this is too, this is an event. It's a bad event, but it's an event.

STU: It's an event. It is.

GLENN: Okay. But I still have a problem.

PAT: What about rooms? Okay. A hotel room going from 120 a night to 321.89.

STU: I have no problem with that.

PAT: That's Best Western. That's not even a hotel. That's a motel.

GLENN: No, I have no problem with that.

PAT: No problem? Okay.

JEFFY: Don't look down on Best Western. Don't point your nose down at it.

PAT: Okay.

STU: There's an extreme scarcity and demand increase.

GLENN: Yeah. Yeah.

PAT: Gas at ten bucks a gallon. You can't get gas, you're going to pay ten bucks a gallon.

JEFFY: You know you are.

GLENN: Right. And here's the thing: Yes, should you have gas? But once that gas station runs out --

PAT: They're not getting anymore.

GLENN: -- how are you going to get the trucks to come in? You need some mercenaries to come in and to refill some things. You need some truckers who are incentivized to come in and say, "I'll get that water there. I'll get that gas there." I mean, there's a balance between humanity and the truth about our better angels.

PAT: Uh-huh.

GLENN: That capitalism needs to walk.

Eric Weinstein, managing director of investment firm Thiel Capital and host of "The Portal" podcast, is not a conservative, but he says conservative and center-right-affiliated media are the only ones who will still allow oppositional voices.

On "The Glenn Beck Podcast" this week, Eric told Glenn that the center-left media, which "controls the official version of events for the country," once welcomed him, but that all changed about eight years ago when they started avoiding any kind of criticism by branding those who disagree with them as "alt-right, far-right, neo-Nazi, etc.," even if they are coming from the left side of the aisle. But their efforts to discredit critical opinions don't stop there. According to Eric, there is a strategy being employed to destroy our national culture and make sure Americans with opposing views do not come together.

"We're trifling with the disillusionment of our national culture. And our national culture is what animates the country. If we lose the culture, the documents will not save us," Eric said. "I have a very strongly strategic perspective, which is that you save things up for an emergency. Well, we're there now."

In the clip below, Eric explains why, after many requests over the last few years, he finally agreed to this podcast.

Don't miss the full interview with Eric Weinstein here.

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Glenn Beck: Why MLK's pledge of NONVIOLENCE is the key to saving America

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Listen to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s pledge of nonviolence and really let it sink in: "Remember always that the nonviolent movement seeks justice and reconciliation — not victory."

On the radio program, Glenn Beck shared King's "ten commandments" of nonviolence and the meaning behind the powerful words you may never have noticed before.

"People will say nonviolent resistance is a method of cowards. It is not. It takes more courage to stand there when people are threatening you," Glenn said. "You're not necessarily the one who is going to win. You may lose. But you are standing up with courage for the ideas that you espouse. And the minute you engage in the kind of activity that the other side is engaging in, you discredit the movement. You discredit everything we believe in."

Take MLK's words to heart, America. We must stand with courage, nonviolently, with love for all, and strive for peace and rule of law, not "winning."

Watch the video below for more:

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Conservatives are between a rock and a hard place with Section 230 and Big Tech censorship. We don't want more government regulation, but have we moved beyond the ability of Section 230 reforms to rein in Big Tech's rising power?

Rachel Bovard, Conservative Partnership Institute's senior director of policy, joined the Glenn Beck radio program to give her thoughts and propose a possibly bipartisan alternative: enforcing our existing antitrust laws.

Watch the video below:

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Dan Bongino, host of The Dan Bongino Show, is an investor in Parler — the social media platform that actually believes in free speech. Parler was attacked by Big Tech — namely Amazon, Apple, and Google — earlier this week, but Bongino says the company isn't giving up without a fight. In fact, he says, he's willing to go bankrupt over this one.

Dan joined Glenn Beck on the radio program to detail what he calls a "smear" campaign behind the scenes, and how he believes we can move forward from Big Tech's control.

"You have no idea how bad this was behind the scenes," Dan told Glenn. "I know you're probably thinking ... well, how much worse can the attack on Parler have gotten than three trillion-dollar companies — Amazon, Apple, and Google — all seemingly coordinated to remove your business from the face of the Earth? Well, behind the scenes, it's even worse. I mean, there are smear campaigns, pressure campaigns ... lawyers, bankers, everyone, to get this company ... wiped from the face of the earth. It's incredible."

Dan emphasized that he would not give up without a fight, because what's he's really fighting for is the right to free speech for all Americans, regardless of their political opinions, without fear of being banned, blacklisted, or losing jobs and businesses.

"I will go bankrupt. I will go absolutely destitute before I let this go," he said. "I have had some very scary moments in my life and they put horse blinders on me. I know what matters now. It's not money. It's not houses. It's none of that crap. It's this: the ability to exist in a free country, where you can express your ideas freely."

Watch the video below to hear more from Dan:

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