It is not only possible for price controls to create shortages (as evidenced during World War II rent control – see pp. 105), but also surpluses. Since price controls do not allow the actual conditions of supply and demand to be reflected in prices, it is not surprising when a price floor on a particular good ends up producing a surplus of that good.
During the Great Depression of the 1930’s, agriculture prices on certain goods were maintained by the government at artificially higher levels. Regardless of the possibly benevolent or altruistic ambitions of politicians backing such controls, what resulted from them was disastrous. The artificially high prices eventually lead to a reduced demand from consumers, leaving many farmers with surplus crops and other excess amounts of goods. In order to fulfill their end of the bargain, the federal government was obligated to purchase the surplus goods of many farmers, only to turn around and intentionally destroy such goods despite widespread malnutrition throughout the country. In 1933 alone the federal government purchased 6 million hogs and then subsequently obliterated them.
This clearly exemplifies the real economic consequences of price controls, and why it necessary for the government to maintain a non-interventionist position in relation to the free market.
Dylan Shetler is a freelancing writer and Christian apologist. You can follow him on Twitter @shetler_dylan