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The war on 'gouging': Blame-shifters

| Monday, March 12, 2007

Democrat U.S. Reps. Jason Altmire of McCandless and Mike Doyle of Forest Hills are among 79 sponsors of the "Federal Price Gouging Prevention Act."

The bill's mission is to prevent evil energy companies from taking advantage of consumers by "gouging" them on the price of gasoline, natural gas and the like.

Judging from the amount of "gas-guzzling" traffic on the highways, consumers are rather inclined to do business with the devil. But the church of central planning will save them.

The dangerous economic illiteracy of the public and public officials is the touchstone of this anti-gouging initiative. Call the measure what you want but it's a form of price control. Such controls discourage energy companies from investing in production and distribution.

What are Reps. Altmire, Doyle and 77 other House members who signed the bill worried about•

The price of gasoline adjusted for inflation is less than in the 1920s; in the 1990s the price had fallen to around $1.50 in current dollars, according to the Ayn Rand Institute.

The war in the Middle East, government imposition of heavy regulation costs, official opposition to new refineries, energy taxes and the demand of emerging economies for petroleum are responsible for higher prices. It's amazing they aren't higher.

The bulk of that is government action. How dare Reps. Altmire, Doyle and their allies try to deflect the blame.

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