From Shortage To Surplus

Russ Roberts and David Tufte have been all over the sudden swing in the flu vaccine "market." Says Roberts:

The government's role in destroying this market by destroying profitability and killing the role of price in creating the orderly matching of supply with demand goes unreported here or in any other story I've seen so far. Soon we'll be seeing the stories that argue that because the "market" in vaccines doesn't work, we have to get the government even more involved.

and Tufte:

Rob Stein, the Washington Post writer who authored the article comes off as clueless for repeating the ideas of unnamed "officials" (presumably from the CDC):

The surprising surplus appears to be the result of a combination of factors, including the spotty availability of vaccine, a relatively mild flu season so far and too many people voluntarily forgoing shots to help out those perceived as more in need, officials said.

Let's think about this a little.

..."[P]eople voluntarily forgoing shots" is clueless in the extreme. The authorities browbeat people into forgoing shots. Did they really think this message wouldn't reduce the marginal benefit that people got from these, and their associated willingness to pay for them?

From the bottom of my heart, I'd like to extend a warm "f&#! you" to the folks who try to engineer our little society here for creating a centralized regulatory and legal system that stood between me and a vaccine this year. My body has spent the good part of a week operating a few degrees above 98.6 and trying to expel my lung from the prison that is my chest. I won the good fight just in time for my hopsital to announce that we could now get the disease-protecting chemicals my body has recently learned to make naturally. Just think how many other more vulnerable people would have had to endure the same pain if we had left it up to the market.

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The government tried to

The government tried to correct a societal imbalance and wound up exacerbating it in the other direction, while in the process creating future uncertainty and making long-term planning even more difficult than it was before the government intervened.

Who would have thought there could actually be such a thing as "Keynesian vaccination policy"?


Well said, Trent. I hope

Well said, Trent. I hope you're feeling better.