Can something be “scarce” but NOT “critically scarce”?
From New York Times (June 7, 2008):
“… housing was critically scarce along the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina.”
This is like saying “the house was painted green in color.” Green is the color, and what’s scarce is by definition “critically” so.
It’s enough and more proper to say something is painted green, period; or that the housing is scarce. Full stop.