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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Not-So-Free Market

We used to adopt a laissez-faire (French for "let do") approach to economics in this country. That was the essence of the free market or free enterprise. Competition was the name of the game, and the only law we needed was the law of supply and demand.

Sadly, those days are gone. Here is an example of just how "free" the market is today:
    Gas station owner told to raise prices

    MERRILL, Wis. - A service station that offered discounted gas to senior citizens and people supporting youth sports has been ordered by the state to raise its prices.

    Center City BP owner Raj Bhandari has been offering senior citizens a 2 cent per gallon price break and discount cards that let sports boosters pay 3 cents less per gallon.

    But the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection says those deals violate Wisconsin's Unfair Sales Act, which requires stations to sell gas for about 9.2 percent more than the wholesale price.

    Bhandari said he received a letter from the state auditor last month saying the state would sue him if he did not raise his prices. The state could penalize him for each discounted gallon he sold, with the fine determined by a judge.
Give me a break. This is still America, right?

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