Monday, January 23, 2012

Minnesota's Anti-Consumer Embalming Laws

From an editorial in the StarTribune about the Institute for Justice's latest case in Minnesota (featured on CD last week):

"Should the government require cabbies to drive six-wheeled taxis or make art galleries buy a Picasso just to prove how serious they are about serving the public? No, because it is silly to force entrepreneurs to waste money on things they don't want, don't need, won't use and can't afford. But the state of Minnesota thinks otherwise.

Verlin Stoll is a 27-year-old entrepreneurial dynamo who owns Crescent Tide funeral home in St. Paul. He wants to expand his business, hire new employees and offer the very lowest prices in the Twin Cities to even more people, particularly disadvantaged communities. But Minnesota refuses to let Stoll build a second funeral home unless he builds a $30,000 embalming room there that he will never use.  Minnesota's law is irrational.

The only reason this law is still on the books is so that the big, full-amenity funeral-home businesses can benefit by a law that drives up prices for consumers and drives up operating expenses for competitors such as Stoll. Stoll's basic services fee is only $250, which is about 90 percent lower than the $2,500 that the average Twin Cities' funeral home charges. Stoll's business model is built on minimizing fixed costs, which is why he does not have a hearse or chapel.

This law -- to the advantage of his competitors -- stands in the way of his expanding his low-cost, high-quality approach. The government shouldn't force Minnesotans to do useless things. That's why Stoll and the Institute for Justice are challenging the law in a lawsuit filed last week."

MP: If we applied the Bastiat principle to "Treat all economic questions from the viewpoint of the consumer, for the interests of the consumer are the interests of the human race" to this issue, Verlin Stoll and the Institute for Justice would easily prevail over the state of Minnesota and its anti-consumer, anti-competitive embalming laws.   


At 1/23/2012 11:49 AM, Blogger sethstorm said...

Bastiat only created a political wedge. If you're part of the "good side", you're part of the consumers. Otherwise the tyranny of the majority caused by those consumers should squelch your voice.

At 1/23/2012 12:08 PM, Blogger Benjamin Cole said...

And when will the IJ militate for an end to lawyer licensing?

At 1/23/2012 5:16 PM, Blogger Aiken_Bob said...

sethstorm -- I'm sure there is some wisdom in what you said - but I can't find it. I kinda like the idea of a tyranny of consumers, demanding quality products and services at a fair price. That would get rid of lots of the do-gooders, and crony business.

At 1/24/2012 9:04 AM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

And when will the IJ militate for an end to lawyer licensing?

They have. I believe they have lawsuits pending in NY and CA (I think. It could be two other states, but I'm 80% sure it's these two).


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