Hannah Montana Tests New Scalping Laws: Some Parents Intimidated by Their 9-Year Olds
Both the Kansas City Star and KSDK – Channel Five in St. Louis are reporting on the difficulty of getting tickets to see Hannah Montana (whoever the hell that is) for fans and their exasperated parents. (I highly recommend the comments section after the Star article, by the way. The first commenter admits to almost getting cussed out by her children when she failed to get tickets. I don’t know if that is more hysterical or pathetic, but it’s clearly both.) Both stories report on scalpers/brokers charging upwards of $1,000 for a ticket to see the heiress to the Achy-Breaky fortune (I learned this from the article) sing about acne, or roller skating, or rainbows, or whatever.
Needless to say, people are outraged, as if there is some inherent right to concert tickets. Not surprisingly, some politicians are pandering to the parents:
“Rep. John Burnett, a Kansas City Democrat and an opponent of the law, had said legalizing scalping would permit price gouging. He tried to limit resale prices to no more than 20 percent of face value, but his amendment was defeated.”
Price gouging is when you raise the price of lumber fivefold the day after a hurricane. In a legal sense, it does not have, and should not have, anything to do with the price of tickets to a concert. Rep. Burnett is not alone (emphasis added).
“We’re getting calls about angry constituents,” Mayor Mark Funkhouser told Tinnen. “We want the level of unhappiness to go down and the level of happiness to go up, however you get it done.”
The honorable mayor seems to be confusing “promoting the general welfare” and “the pursuit of happiness” with the casual meaning of happiness as it relates to pre-teens. The role of government, at any level, is not to increase happiness for people. It is to perform basic functions that allow people to pursue their own happiness. And while governments do it all the time, they should still avoid interfering with the free market as much as possible. And the few exceptions to that should be in cases of war or natural disasters, not pop concerts.