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.

Did the FBI just get away with the BIGGEST armed robbery in US history?

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

In 2021, an armed group broke into a U.S. Private Vaults store in Beverly Hills and stole $86 million worth of valuables — the largest armed robbery in U.S. history. That "armed group" was the FBI. Now, it appears that the FBI and U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles "misled" the judge who signed the warrant for the seizure and still haven't returned the stolen goods to the 700 customers affected, according to newly disclosed court filings.

The details of the government’s alleged deception have come to light in a class-action lawsuit by U.S. Private Vaults customers who say the raid violated their rights, the Los Angeles Times reported. The FBI and U.S. attorney’s office denied misleading the judge, and a spokesperson claimed the warrants were lawfully executed.

On the radio program, Glenn Beck and producer Stu Burguiere reviewed some of the shocking story's details and discussed why incidents like this may become more common.

"None of the customers have been charged with any crimes. Not a single customer, out of the 700, not a single customer has been charged with a crime, but they can't get their stuff back," Glenn noted. "And this is going to happen more and more."

"It's incomprehensible that this stuff goes on in the United States of America," Stu said. "If you were to tell me this happened, you know, in Russia, I'd expect it. The fact that the United States government is claiming and just taking stuff from citizens all around the country with no crime, many times without even being charged, let alone ... conviction."

"Listen to this," Glenn continued. "The lawsuit also claims that some of the box holders who came forward to reclaim their seized property were then subjected to another investigation. If you went to the FBI and said, 'I want my stuff back,' the FBI examined their bank accounts, their DMV records, their tax return, and any criminal history checks."

However, box holders who decided to forfeit their property were also suspected of trying to "avoid becoming an FBI target," Glenn noted.

"So, you're guilty if you walk away and you're guilty if you ask," Stu added.

"This is America, gang," Glenn said. "It doesn't seem like it because it's not a constitutional America. But this is the America we now live in, and it is important that you wake up and stand up. ... God's people have got to start standing up, or we'll lose freedom. The world's freedom will be on our heads."

Watch the video clip below to hear more from Glenn. Can't watch? Download the podcast here.

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Glenn Beck: One TERRIFYING thing is clear no matter who caused the Nord Stream pipeline leaks

Photo by Danish Defence/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Evidence strongly suggests that the Nord Stream pipeline leaks were the result of sabotage, and U.S. and European officials have been working to discover who could be behind the explosions that damaged the natural gas pipelines running from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea.

Was it Russia? Ukraine? Germany? But no matter who carried this out, it has put the entire world in grave danger, because if this is indeed an attack, it means that non-military key infrastructure outside Ukraine is now on the "target menu," warned Glenn Beck on the radio program.

"It is so important for you to understand, this is now a non-military key infrastructure that has been destroyed," Glenn explained. "If Russia thinks we did it, they've already said, 'Nukes are now on the table.' That gives us a green light to use nukes," he added.

"This is non-military key infrastructure outside of the borders of Ukraine. To date, as far as we know, combat targets were either in Ukraine, or were military targets hit inside of Russia by Ukrainian Air Force or special forces. But the target menu now includes key civilian infrastructure: electricity, water utilities, energy production. That makes Russia more dangerous than ever. And that would be true no matter who carried out the attack," Glenn stated.

Now, the Russians are saying the Unted States did it, and the U.S. is saying it was Russia. But no matter who carried out the attack, "We are facing a Cuban Missile Crisis," said Glenn.

"This could end up being the biggest story of our lifetime and ... if it isn't played calmly by every side, this could be World War III," he continued. "Russia has already said that this gives them the right to use nuclear weapons as soon as they find out for sure who did it. That would be catastrophic, absolutely catastrophic."

Watch the video clip below to hear more from Glenn. Can't watch? Download the podcast here.

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The White House can try to spin inflation all day long (and it's trying very hard). But you feel the effects of President Joe Biden’s disastrous leadership every time you go to the grocery store or fill up your car. The American economy is on the brink of disaster after less than two years of a Democrat-controlled Congress and White House. And they’ve got plenty more destruction in the works.

The bottom line is they WANT you to get used to a lower living standard. So, what do you do? How do you prepare? What will food and fuel cost in the months ahead? What would the next Great Depression look like? How are you going to feel the effects of ESG and the Left’s war on oil?

On Wednesday night's "Glenn TV," Glenn Beck brings in a panel of economic experts to answer those questions. He’s joined by Carol Roth, former Wall Street investment banker and author of “The War on Small Business,” and Jim Iuorio, a small business owner, stockbroker, and managing director of TJM Institutional Services. While both forecast the worst-case scenario for average Americans, they also offer a glimmer of hope to get us out of this mess.

Watch the full episode below:


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The FBI recently sent more than a dozen armed agents to the home of well-known pro-life activist Mark Houck to arrest him for allegedly violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances or FACE Act. Now the father of seven faces up to 11 years in prison over claims that he blocked a man from entering an abortion clinic and shoved him when he wouldn't stop verbally harassing Mark's 12-year-old son. Now, if that doesn't sound insane enough, this all happened after local authorities dropped the case. So, what's the full story here?

Attorney Peter Breen joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Tuesday to tell the family's side of the story, including how the case was already "won" three years ago, and how, after receiving a target letter from the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Mark's legal team agreed to cooperate fully, only to hear nothing back until the day the FBI showed up on Mark's doorstep.

Breen also explained how the FBI has tried to downplay "abuse of power" claims, accusing Mark's wife of making "inaccurate claims" about the terrifying experience.

"Ryan-Marie, who is Mark's wife, she thought she saw 25 [FBI agents.] The FBI came back and said it wasn't 25, it was no more than 15 or 20 heavily armed federal agents. And she had called them a 'SWAT team' because she's a lay person. I don't know the difference between a SWAT team and a bunch of heavily armed, armored, and shield-bearing federal agents," Breen said.

According to Fox News, a senior FBI source said:

There may have been 15-20 agents at the scene, but denied 25 were there. The agents who came to the door had guns out and at the ready, according to this FBI source, but the guns were never pointed at Houck or his family and were lowered or holstered as soon as Houck was taken into custody. Houck was handcuffed with a belly chain.

"So, yeah, they had guns drawn and pointed at Mark in front of his wife and their children. And that whole show of force was done against a man who was not a drug lord, not a mafia boss, but instead, a law-abiding pillar of the community whose attorney said, 'we'll bring him in if you decide to charge, even though you have no case.'"

Breen went on to assert that he believes Congress "needs to" hold Attorney General Merrick Garland accountable for the arrest. "I can't imagine that those 20 federal agents were excited about being called out to a peaceful man's home, guns drawn," he said.

In the video clip below, Breen goes on the explain what he believes should happen next, and why Houck's arrest "should frighten all of us." Can't watch? Download the podcast here.

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To enjoy more of Glenn’s masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis, and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution, and live the American dream.