You Can Book a D.C. Hotel This Weekend—a Great Victory for the Price System

A blog about business and economics.
Jan. 16 2013 11:18 AM

You Can Book a D.C. Hotel This Weekend—a Great Victory for the Price System

Byron York has penned a staggeringly dumb item about how in 2009 Inauguration Weekend hotel rooms were all sold out, whereas this year if you need a hotel "it will cost you, but there are plenty available."

His notion, I guess, is to make partisan hay out of the fact that Obama's second inauguration isn't as big a deal as his first (BREAKING), but I think the real point here is that "it will cost you." Total lack of hotel room availability isn't just a sign of lots of interest in visiting a particular city at a particular time, it's poor inventory management on the part of hotel owners. If short-term supply is inelastic, a spike in demand should lead to a spike in prices, not a blanket sellout.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.