Fill-in-the-Blank Price-Gouging Article
Art Carden of the Mises Institute provides: "A universal, fill-in-the-blank article discussing the economics of price-gouging laws. Whenever there is a natural disaster, you can just fill in the relevant blanks for a complete analysis of the economics of the situation."
Fearing increases in the prices of basic items as a result of (disaster ____), officials in (state or municipality _____) have declared a state of emergency whereby restrictions on "price gouging" are now in effect. According to (politician or law enforcement official ____), the law is designed to protect innocent consumers from "unconscionable" increases in the prices of food, gasoline, ice, electric generators, and home-repair services.
The unintended, unseen consequences, however, are predictable, unfortunate, and avoidable. Price controls and price-gouging laws make matters worse rather than better.
Consider the case of (hapless merchant _____), who was fined $___ and sentenced to ___(months/years) in jail for increasing the price of (goods ____) by ___%. The bitter irony is that (merchant _____)'s (goods _____) were confiscated and taken to a secure location, where they (rotted/melted/remain to this day). The citizens of (town _____) are still without (good _____), and the very person who tried to provide them with (good _____) faces prosecution.