Monday, May 08, 2006

Gouge

I've been hearing a lot lately about "price gouging." It makes me wonder: what does the term mean? The dictionary says: " ... 3 : to subject to extortion or undue exaction : OVERCHARGE - goug·er noun."

Well, now, "extortion." That sounds bad. And I'm pretty sure it's already illegal. "Extort" means: " ... to obtain from a person by force, intimidation, or undue or illegal power."

In the above-referenced news story, Sen. Maria Cantwell of the state of Washington is, as senators are wont to do, urging legislation:
With gas prices above $3 a gallon in many places, Congress should pass legislation by Memorial Day to make price-gouging a federal crime, Sen. Maria Cantwell said Saturday in the Democrats' weekly radio address.
Regrettably, the news story provides no further detail about what prices would constitute "gouging," and I was unable to locate a transcript of Sen. Cantwell's address. Her web site has a fair amount of material on the subject, but it neither defines "gouging," nor "profiteering," nor does it indicate what prices for gasoline or other fuels are acceptable.

Price-fixing collusions: already illegal. Extortion: already illegal. This makes me think that something that isn't already illegal is about to become so, and I wonder what it is. I expect there's a good chance that it will turn out that "gouging" and "profiteering" mean asking a higher price from willing buyers than Sen. Cantwell finds seemly. Now I wonder when Sen. Cantwell will turn her critical eye and technical expertise to the real-estate markets. Many Americans are selling their houses for far, far more than they paid for them. Yes, sadly, many Americans are gouging and profiteering. Perhaps Sen. Cantwell will let us know what fair prices would look like.

Now, I don't mean to seem partisan here; all who know me also know that I carry no water for the Gee-Oh-Pee. So let's pause to note here that the "gouge" word has also recently been heard from the simian lips of El Presidente himself. It matters not which crime family any particular lawfaker associates himself or herself with; all of them love to make expansive and threatening gestures with the huge gun that is government, while barking out orders to you and I, telling us what we may buy at what price, and what we are forbidden to buy. Of course, all this is as it should and must be ... of course! Without our Dear Leaders, whatever would we do?

6 comments:

RGH (the redheaded one) said...

"makes me think that something that isn't already illegal is about to become so, and I wonder what it is. I expect there's a good chance that it will turn out that "gouging" and "profiteering" mean asking a higher price from willing buyers than Sen. Cantwell finds seemly. Now I wonder when Sen. Cantwell will turn her critical eye and technical expertise to the real-estate markets. Many Americans are selling their houses for far, far more than they paid for them. Yes, sadly, many Americans are gouging and profiteering. Perhaps Sen. Cantwell will let us know what fair prices would look like"

wow. Senator Cantwell, I'm well aquainted with her (live in her state):-) and until THIS, I agreed with, and thought she was doing a wonderful job. Whoooooe! No more.

The redhead who made a goof LOL said...

wow, can I correcct a comment? Didn't see an edit button.

the title should be

RHG (the redheaded one)

(*_*)

Bartleby said...

Hi, RHG! (Or RGH ... I know so few gorgeous redheads that a change in initial order does not confuse me.)

Actually, I expect Sen. Cantwell is probably one of the better ones. My attention was drawn to her only because she delivered the Democrats' weekly radio reply to Prexy. I'm sure that all 100 U.S. Senators have already thundered sturdily and mightily against high gasoline prices.

Thanks for stopping by!

itsmecissy said...

Whether you call it "gouging" or "profiteering," all I know is that I'm paying $3.39 a gallon out here on the left coast. That SHOULD be illegal!

Mike Kole said...

Indiana passed a law in the 2005 session making it illegal to sell gasoline at a loss. Yet, selling it at "too high" a price yields charges of gouging, so we go through the useless motions of hearings every two or three years, with the same result- none. Mainly the charges are bunk.

Most interestingly, as the prices have risen, consumption has not fallen. Maybe the oil companies were doing us a huge favor for years, selling at a price lower than they could have commanded.

If I was made king of the oil companies for a day, I would take the prices off the street corners immediately. The prices of so many other things that consume a larger percentage of our incomes, such as housing, have lept at a higher rate since 1984 than gasoline. But, because the price is on the street corner where everyone can see it, you get the yelling.

Bartleby said...

Indiana passed a law in the 2005 session making it illegal to sell gasoline at a loss.

I didn't hear about that one. Every time you think our waste-of-space supervisors can't possibly get any more stupid or evil, they show you how wrong you were to think so. Completely amazing.