Wednesday, May 23, 2007

"Unconsionable"

The House, as you may have heard, decided to okay penalties for "price-gouging." These penalties (up to $150 mil for corporations or $2 mil for individuals) kick in when prices are "unconscionably excessive."

Not only is this wrong in theory, the law is unenforceable at best, subject to the whims of the enforcers at worst. If it passes, I'd like to see an attempt to charge state and federal governments with "price-gouging," considering how their unconscionable taxes and laws on varying fuel blends drive up the prices. Of course, that would never happen.

How does one gouge consumers with "unconscionably" high prices? Are there gas stations that use force or the threat of such to pull in customers? Nope, but the government uses those things to demand that those stations pay taxes while keeping prices "reasonable." Does one fuel company monopolize the industry? Nope, but the feds have a monopoly on being the government. Sure, they let the states into the racket, too, but the House passed this bill because the states weren't performing as well as the feds demanded.

Makes you wonder who is doing the gouging, doesn't it?

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