"Unconscionably Excessive" Prices? Who Decides
House of Representatives' Federal Price Gouging Prevention Act:
"To protect consumers from price-gouging of gasoline and other fuels, it would be unlawful for any person to sell crude oil, gasoline, natural gas, or petroleum distillates at a price that: a) is unconscionably excessive; or b) indicates the seller is taking unfair advantage of unusual market conditions (whether real or perceived), or the circumstances of an emergency to increase prices unreasonably.”
First question and the biggest problem with legislation like this: What exactly is "unconscionably excessive," and who decides? When is a seller taking "unfair advantage" of a buyer, and who decides?
Maybe lawmakers ought to apply the same restrictions to other products. Some of us might find it “unconscionably excessive” that Starbucks charges the same amount for a 20-ounce cup of coffee that a consumer would pay at a supermarket for an entire can of coffee, one that will make dozens of cups. We might also find it “unconscionably excessive” that the same supermarket charges $1.25 for a bottle of the same water we can get direct from a tap for pennies. Talk about a markup.
From today's editorial by Rich Tucker Driving Up Prices.