“The government busybody administrators could not resist their pervasive and pathological urge to save the day and be heroes.”
Despite the gaping holes in the economy, sound businesses endured the collapse by the wits of their brilliant, industrious managers who hustled fuel with collateralized IOUs to keep their fleets rolling. The goods that were moving were moving based on million dollar deals sealed with handshakes and emails. There were crafty, resourceful men and women, millions of them, dealing in millions of products, making billions of decisions, holding what was left of the sputtering economic order together. They were adjusting to the extraordinary situation. They were surviving.
Then the government just had to do something again.
The government busybody administrators could not resist their pervasive and pathological urge to save the day and be heroes. So, like a monkey wrench—or more aptly a hand grenade—tossed into the machine-works, the busybodies went about meddling and destroying the fragile arrangements created by the resourceful business managers.
“How dare anyone profit in these extreme times!” the politicians declared. First, the evil price gougers were to be cited, then arrested. Then their assets were to be seized. This started with the gas stations and progressed to the sellers of produce, and then the merchants of diapers. The possibility of high profits, which could be made if one could get a truckload of diapers from New Jersey to Flagstaff for example, was quickly doused by the government busybodies who made it illegal to make any exploitative windfall profits. The exploiters, who were on their way to Flagstaff to fulfill the desperate diaper demand, and make a buck in the process, caught wind of the new regulations that would result in landing them in prison for five years. They turned their trucks around and went back home. The Arizonian babies were saved from those greedy capitalists! They would just have to do without diapers and the other things they needed, regardless of what their parents were willing to pay.
The government busybodies, through passage of the Commercial Goods Transportation Prioity Act, determined that certain goods had to have priority when being transported on the king’s roads. Priority was largely determined by political connection. The handlers of those goods were moved to the front of the growing fuel lines. This destroyed the complex procurement and hauling matrix of pickup, delivery and back haul. Within hours of the regulation, trucks were rolling empty. Gluts and shortages of goods exploded everywhere. A mountain of tires accumulated in Toledo while trucks across the country were idled by flats.