One of the downsides of any crisis is that there are always individuals that look to profit from the misfortune of others.
On Monday, the Washington Times reported President Donald Trump signed an executive order cracking down on price gouging and hoarding of medical and other key supplies during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
Stop the hoarding
The personal hoarding is bad enough, but that is not what is being addressed in this case.
Those who ran to the grocery store and bought their local store out of toilet paper to create a stockpile are not the target of the order — that is, as long they aren’t turning around and opening up an eBay store to sell it at $100 a roll.
The people targeted in this bill are those who have stockpiles of supplies and purposely did not release them in order to benefit financially from the shortage that has been created.
Attorney General Bill Barr stated, “If you have a big supply of toilet paper in your house, this is not something you have to worry about, but if you are sitting on a warehouse with surgical masks, you’ll be hearing a knock on your door.”
President Trump added, “We have some people hoarding. We want to prevent price gouging and critical resources are going to be protected in every form.”
Online retailers cracking down
By now, most have heard the story of the men who had the brilliant idea of buying out every store in nearby counties of hand sanitizer.
With roughly 17,000 bottles in their stock, they opened up accounts on various online outlets, such as eBay and Amazon, selling bottles for as much as $70 each.
After a massive online outcry, rather than running the risk of being prosecuted for price gouging, the two men opted to donate the bottles to be used in the fight against coronavirus.
Similar things were seen with regard to N95 masks, as they were also being hoarded and then sold online, in some cases, for more than $1,000 each (you can generally get a package of five of these online for a few dollars).
With the new executive order, once these items are formally declared “scarce,” they can no longer be hoarded and anyone caught price gouging can be prosecuted.