Be careful what you wish for

I had to laugh at a suggestion from an Australian economist concerning the run on toilet paper supplies in that country, thanks to the coronavirus epidemic.  There really does seem to be a panic about it there, as this video from an Aldi store in Sydney demonstrates.

Alfredo Paloyo offers his views, including this suggestion.

There are two other solutions.

The first is for the government to step in as guarantor.

In 2008, for example, the market crash engendered by the subprime mortgage crisis left multiple Australian banks vulnerable to depositor runs. In response, the Australian government announced a guarantee scheme for deposits. Depositors, assured the government would cover their losses even if their bank collapsed, no longer had the fear of being caught out by not withdrawing their savings.

In the case of toilet paper, the government acting as guarantor might involve holding a strategic stockpile of toilet paper.

There’s more at the link.

Let me think about this for a moment.  The US government allegedly, and infamously, couldn’t run a confiscated brothel at a profit . . . but you want me to trust that same government to guarantee I’ll have something available to wipe my tuchusReally?

As for administering a “strategic stockpile of toilet paper” . . . can’t you just see the bureaucratic infighting that’ll engender?  Imagine the conversations:

“Hey, you!  Minion!  The Department of Defense needs a million packs of toilet paper for our warfighters!”

“So?  Warfighters are tough.  Let them use field-expedient alternatives.  The households of Washington D.C. take priority – especially politicians and bureaucrats!”

Ah . . . no.  I think I’ll rely on my own anything-but-strategic stockpile, thank you very much!



  1. Uhm, hate to mention this but I read the article that you linked to regarding the US running a brothel and the article says it did not do so. "So, while it's accurate enough to say that the federal government "owned" Mustang Ranch for approximately three months in 1990, the claim that government officials tried to run the brothel and failed appears to be unfounded." As did the article that it linked to.

    So no the US did not run the brothel at all either profitably or or at a loss.

    Sorry to be the nitpicker but I like facts and your blog very much. Thank you for your blog.

  2. @Nukemjim: You'll note I said "allegedly". Yes, I know it really didn't happen, but it's too good a folk tale to let it go to waste! 🙂

  3. The U.S. Treasury department is producing toilet paper at the highest rates possible. Perhaps if they just quit doing all that fancy printing on it and just left it blank?

  4. If you seriously fear that you will not be able to buy toilet paper in the near future, shouldn't you also expect not to be able to buy food? 'Cause if you can't get food, you won't need toilet paper.

  5. This could save Sears from bankruptcy. Bring back the old sear catalog, no colored pages please, and sell them for big bucks.

  6. Just ask the GPO for a printed copy of the most recent federal budget act.
    Might not be soft, but you'll be able to wipe for a good long time.

  7. The retail stores may start doing what the military contractors have always done—start charging $650 for a package of toilet paper

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