Johnson's Bob Frank shares his 6-6-6 plan for curbing moonlight madness with the NYT
11/24/2011 12:49:00 PM
Inspired by Herman Cain's 9-9-9 tax plan, Frank makes a suggestion for the Black Fridays' of tomorrow: A six percent national sales tax, in effect from 6 p.m. Thanksgiving night to 6 a.m. Black Friday morning
Excerpt from "How to end the Black Friday madness" (New York Times, Nov. 24)
By Robert H. Frank
ADAM SMITH’S most enthusiastic modern disciples insist that the recipe for economic progress is to push government aside and let unfettered markets work their magic. His invisible hand theory does provide a tidy account of how market incentives can generate enormous wealth. But as the great British naturalist Charles Darwin saw so clearly, unbridled competition doesn’t always promote the common good.
It’s not how fast or how strong you are that matters, but rather whether you’re faster or stronger than your closest rivals. The arms races that result when rivals jockey for position — witness the massive antlers of bull elk — often spawn considerable waste. And as with the elk, so too in the marketplace. The start time for post-Thanksgiving sales is a vivid case in point. MORE
In recent years, large retail chains have been competing to be the first to open their doors on Black Friday. The race is driven by the simple fact that stores with the earliest start time capture the most buyers and make the most sales. For many years, stores opened at 6 a.m. Then, just a few years ago, some started opening at 5, prompting complaints from employees about having to go to sleep early on Thanksgiving and miss out on time with their families. But retailers ignored those complaints, because their earlier start time proved so successful in luring customers away from rival outlets. MORE