Yesterday, New York City Mayor Eric Adams declared a state of emergency in the Big Apple. This news probably won’t sound very shocking to anyone who has been in the city or simply pays attention to the headlines. There are plenty of situations in Gotham that could rightfully be described as emergencies. Adams isn’t talking about the daily shootings, the epidemic of homelessness, or the unaffordable rent and real estate prices, however. He’s declaring a state of emergency because of the lack of baby formula on the city’s shelves. That’s certainly a bad situation for any families with infants to be sure, but can the Mayor make more formula magically appear with a stroke of his pen? Not really. But he can stop people from price gouging with the few remaining supplies of formula, or so he thinks. (Fox News)
Democratic New York City Mayor Eric Adams declared a state of emergency on Sunday amid a nationwide baby formula shortage, allowing the city to crack down on price gouging of the essential product used by families.
Adams made the announcement on Sunday, and his office said that the order will give the New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection power to prevent price gouging for baby formula under New York City rules…
“The nationwide infant formula shortage has caused unimaginable pain and anxiety for families across New York — and we must act with urgency,” Adams said. “This emergency executive order will help us to crack down on any retailer looking to capitalize on this crisis by jacking up prices on this essential good.
If you are in the greater New York City area and someone has tried to charge you a vastly inflated price for baby formula, you can file a complaint online or dial 311 and simply say the word “overcharge.”
I’m not going to knock the mayor for trying to do something to prevent price gouging. That’s a pretty rotten thing for anyone to do, particularly when you’re effectively trying to hold infants hostage in an attempt to make a few extra bucks. (And that’s kind of hard for me to say as an avowed free-market capitalist.) The problem here is that he’s really only targeting retailers. How many of them would significantly jack up the price of baby formula at a time like this and risk ruining their reputation permanently? I’d be more concerned with the individual sellers who have hoarded some and are selling it on E-bay or even out on the street corners.
You’ll note that Adams didn’t suggest that he could do anything about the actual shortage or make more supplies appear in the stores. In fact, he went out of his way to warn everyone that it will likely be at least a couple of months before anything approaching normal deliveries of the formula are showing up back on the store shelves. Hopefully, people can appreciate that sort of blunt honesty even when an elected official is bearing bad news.
But at the same time, you can see that Adams also wasn’t in the mood to point the finger of blame at anyone for the shortage hitting the city in the first place. If he did, there wouldn’t be very many likely suspects who aren’t highly placed members of his own party, so that would have been somewhat awkward. But if he plans on running for president, as has recently been suggested, he’ll need to start thinking of the bigger picture. Perhaps he could suggest some ways to ensure that this type of prolonged shortfall doesn’t take place again in the future.
The entire country seems to be perpetually under one state of emergency or another these days, doesn’t it? At least this time Adams didn’t try to use this announcement as an excuse to begin assuming more authoritarian power and issuing additional mandates. Or at least he hasn’t done that yet.