The Missoulian had some harsh words to say about Congress's recent legislation dealing with "price-gouging" at the gas pump:
Christened the Federal Price Gouging Prevention Act, the legislation is little more than an attempt to take political advantage of consumers grimacing at high summer-vacation gas prices. It does nothing to bring down those prices, and could actually send them soaring even higher.
The Missoulian's points are all good ones -- the real problems are dependence on foreign oil, failure to conserve enough, blocking exploration efforts, failing to develop alternatives... the usual.
The truly confused folks, though, are going to be gas station owners in a dozen or so states where there are mandatory mark-ups on gas. A case that recently got national attention was in Wisconsin, where an owner was threatened with a lawsuit by the state for charging senior citizens less than the mandatory 9.2% markup on wholesale price.
According to Wisconsin regulators, the discounts represent “unfair competition” against other gas stations, and that — get this — imperils consumers.
So the poor schmuck will get sued by the state if he imperils consumers by charging too little -- and sued by the feds if he imperils a Congressman's re-election by charging too much.