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Don’t You Dare Buy Tickets to Obama’s Inauguration

The 1969 Woodstock Festival was the defining moment of my generation. Nearly a half million people attended, and twelve million of them will eagerly tell you about being there.

I’m wondering if the inauguration of Obama will be this generation’s defining moment. How many hundreds of thousands of people will be crowding the capital to witness the historic event?

There are 240,000 tickets available. Diane Feinstein is upset that some folks may sell their tickets, and that would be capitalistic and evil and horrible and Must Be Stopped. So like every other Democrat Republican politician who is offended by the free market in action, she’s proposing a law to make selling them illegal. She claims they could go for $40,000 each. She got this number from politician’s favorite source of numbers – she pulled it out of her ass. (One site claims to have them for 10K apiece, but that’s bogus – no one has them in hand yet.)

Ticket scalping is the very definition of a victimless crime. No one is forced to buy ridiculously priced tickets to anything. Ever. You may want to take your kids to see Hanna Montana, but you don’t have to, and their lives will not be destroyed if they miss it. Don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars to see the Rolling Stones? Simple: Don’t. (Side note: I saw them a few years ago for sixteen dollars. That was after seeing Rush, AC/DC, The Isley Brothers, The Guess Who, The Flaming Lips, Jeff Healy, and a few others I don’t recall at the same concert. You can read about it here.) While I’m annoyed at the prices performing artists are now charging for tickets, I’d rather see them get the money than have it go to scalpers who don’t add any value to the transaction, except for themselves. And while I don’t like scalpers, that’s no reason to consider them criminal.

Yes, it sucks. Yes, it seems blatantly unfair. Yes, the problem is worse because buying tickets from Tickemaster can be half day project. But whenever there is a limited resource (seats, or in this case, standing room) those who want it the most will pay the most.  The laws of man can not defeat the laws of economics. Where there is demand there will be supply. Making it illegal won’t change that. But it will make Diane and her buddies feel good, and isn’t that what really matters?


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2 Comment(s)

  1. Stop doing smart posts and get on that mic already, I miss that smokey voice and prose.

    Olivier | Nov 11, 2008 | Reply

  2. If scalpers can get so much for the sale of tickets it means that the artists are missing out, they are selling them too cheaply. The ideal would be for all tickets to concerts being auctioned, that way the artist will receive the full market price of the tickets.

    Mark.V. | Nov 13, 2008 | Reply

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