Monday, September 15, 2008

"Gouging for greed"

The top story on the local news today was how North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper was issuing subpoenas to seven local gas stations accused of "price gouging" over the weekend. Cooper said that "gouging for greed will not be tolerated in North Carolina." My wife nearly got spaghetti sauce spat upon her face when I heard that comment. It is depressing that an adult in a position of authority could utter such an inane comment. It is even more depressing that there are people out there who buy this inanity and cheer him on.

More importantly, however, was the second story that showed some stations running out of gas over the weekend. The reporter in the story said that the stations had "reasonable" prices. Could there be a correlation between the first story and this one? The stations that ran out of gas tried to limit customers to $20 worth of gas. This form of rationing is apparently legal albeit less effective.

One more thing on "greed." With the recent problems in the financial sector and, of course, the gouging controversy, many pundits are talking about greed as if it is a characteristic solely of businessmen. The late Milton Friedman had the best response to this nonsense.

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