The Beginning of an Adventure
I am not an early riser, so most mornings I struggle to get out of bed. It is especially harder in the winter --- it's dark, it's cold and the days are shorter.
I am also a believer that the snooze button is my best friend --- every time my alarm goes off, I am convinced just eight more precious minutes will refresh me. I forget logic and reason at this moment. I forget that I have been asleep for six hours and am still tired, but I know just another 480 seconds will make that big difference.
Today is different.
Today, I lie in my bed wide awake, refreshed and ready to take on the world. I am lying in my bed looking at my iPad, waiting for it to go off and wondering what’s taking so long. I watch as it goes from 4:58am to 4:59am and finally to 5am.
So why is today different? Today is the start of an exciting and a unique adventure. I feel like a child on Christmas morning, because today I will board a plane and head towards the only country I truly love, where I feel like I belong and that I long to call "home."
The idea of America is the ultimate experiment of mankind at its finest.
As I rise and finish my packing, it becomes easy for my mind to wonder about the adventures that await me. I am excited to see some old friends again, intrigued at making new friends, as well as the prospect of visiting new places and experiencing different parts of America’s vast culture.
America has changed my life so much by providing answers to how life should be and its history has provided so much inspiration. The idea of America is the ultimate experiment of mankind at its finest --- an example of freedom, hope and what people can achieve when they are free to pursue their dreams.
If I had to give America a slogan it would simply be:
America = making the impossible possible!
Behind all the excitement and joy is a sense of fear and apprehension. I experience these feelings every time I do a public speaking engagement, talk on my show or write a column.
What happens if I cannot give back to America by helping inspire someone as I have been inspired? What if I can’t reach Americans and help them see their own great history and the principles that made America exceptional? What if I can’t explain why both parties are on a path towards European-style big government, which has never and will never work? How can I make a connection with people and help them understand the only solution is America’s Founding Principles? This is my constant challenge.
Outrage of the Day
With the creation of social media, it is easier than ever before to learn the news of the day and share your reaction. Today, people on all sides love to get outraged, achieve social justice and destroy someone on the other side.
As I flew into JFK and had a five-hour layover before my flight to RDU, I came across the latest outrage, which was an attack on capitalism.
There was a report of price gouging as someone was charging $100 for a case of water during the hurricane season. As you can imagine, there was plenty of outrage --- calls for government regulation to make such practices illegal, demands for pricing controls, a resurgence of the narrative that all businesses are evil and probably a fancy hashtag campaign along the lines of #DownWithCapitalism.
(Before I continue, let me state clearly I am not defending or promoting this price for a crate of water.)
I know this may shock some people, but I believe in life, you are entitled to nothing, and you certainly do not have a right to any product regardless of your situation. If I own a crate of water (or any product or service), I can choose to sell it for any price I see fit, and you have a right to purchase it or decline my price.
If you understand economics, you know there are two ways this problem can be solved.
The only solution is less government, less regulation.
Firstly, the laws of supply and demand help determine the pricing of a product --- if there is a surplus, prices go down. If there is a shortage they go up. If a business puts a price of $100 on a crate of water and enough people say "no," eventually the business will have to reduce the price until enough people are happy and decide to purchase the water, because business cannot make a profit without sales.
The second way has to do with your personal mindset. A growing number of people today will look at a problem and that is all they will ever see. Others will see the problem and focus entirely on finding the solution and possibly get rewarded for their efforts.
In this case, if someone is charging $100 for a crate of water, it opens the door for a new or existing competitor offer a similar product for a cheaper price. Another business might still be profitable by selling crates of water for only $80 each, which would greatly disrupt the market. The original business would then have three choices, keep his pricing the same, match his competitor’s price or beat the price. This simple solution may result in a price war between the businesses, and generally, price wars lead to greater outcomes for the consumer.
If you truly care for the consumer and have their best interests at heart, the only solution is less government, less regulation and letting individuals innovate and compete with each other for the opportunity to make a profit.
That Time I Was Price Gouged at the Airport
There's another reason I was frustrated by the "outrage" of the day. While sitting in JFK, I suddenly realized I had a price gouging situation of my own to deal with, and government regulations were making matters worse.
If you have traveled through an airport recently, you know government regulations with the assistance of the TSA make it illegal for you to bring any fluids through security gates. As a result of this regulated market, I ended up paying $8.04 for two bottles of Powerade at Hudson on the inside of the security gates.
If you are doing the math, that adds up to nearly $90 for a crate.
Photo by Jonathon Dunne.
The above price list is from Hudson, and as you can see, a crate of water would cost $72.
This happens every day to tens of thousands of passengers as they travel through JFK, and yet where is the outrage to fix this? Where is the fancy hashtag?
Thankfully, there is no outrage, because I was not really price gouged.
Nobody was beside me with a gun saying, "you must buy this product at this price," and I could have said "no," but I was thirsty and wanted a bottle of Powerade.
Hopefully one day, airports will be open to more competition, which will bring pricing down and then once again the consumer will win.
Until then, may the idea of America continue to see us through.