Thursday, May 24, 2007

Unconscionably Obscene Market Regulation

The legal standard for obscenity is intentionally vague. Different communities, as a result, get to decide what kind of business activity crosses the line and what is acceptable to the local folks. That's why Lexington and Louisville have strippers available to dance on your table if you want that and most other places do not.

The same standard should not apply to the free market supply of gasoline, but when the U.S. House of Representatives voted yesterday to make "price gouging" illegal, they applied an absurd standard to regulation of the price of gasoline.

Sadly, every Representative from Kentucky except for Rep. Geoff Davis voted to make it illegal to sell gasoline at a price that is "unconscionably excessive."

This is worse than the 2004 Kentucky price gouging law AG Greg Stumbo is using to attack Marathon Oil. They are easy political points, I know, but unless you want the government coming against your business some day because one politician needs a few votes, you might want to pay attention to this.