Price Gouging Again Already

Our gas prices have gone up $.60 within a month here. It’s not even the start of travel for seasonal lodgers. We’ve been given about every excuse possible in the last few years. I’d like to know when Congress is going to stop the oil companies from taking advantage of our people. We are at a point when either the oil industry would have to stop voluntarily (yeah, right!), or Congress would have to restrict them (Probably with a price cap. Personally I think $1.50 pg would be reasonable.) Fines would not be effective since they are always passed on to the consumer.

The strongest reason for a cap is that inflated prices are weakening our economy. Besides the ridiculous prices we are being forced to pay for the fuel itself, it is inflating every other product and service. All businesses have fuel charges that are increasing (if not shipping, then electricity and heat or air conditioning) . It is very galling to know that it is not being done out of necessity. It has been almost pure profit for the oil industry at the expense of everyone else. The middle class on down will not be able to continue to pay their piratical prices. Businesses will close; individuals may lose their homes. We are heading for a major depression if the greed gripping our country is not reined in.

The most common argument against a cap is free trade. However, the oil industry is not a free market system. A free system implies that the consumer can choose not to buy the product (Most of us cannot choose that at this point. Should we allow them to strangle us financially until we can? If we ever can?). My family has taken some steps to conserve. If we had disposable income, we would do more. However, as we were looking around for alternatives, we discovered that almost all fuel efficient products pad their prices with the amount of money you would be saving on fuel (and sometimes more) through the life of the product. I also suspect that as we conserve, the oil companies are raising their prices to insure their record profits. Another factor that makes the oil industry a non-free market is that states restrict the minimum price of gasoline (I do not know about the other fuels.). Service stations are required to charge a similar price as the going rate. If that were not the case, maybe we would have some fairminded people charging much less. Maybe.

During WWII, there was a cap on fuel prices. There was also a restriction on how much you could consume. And before that, there were other robber barons of the fuel industries who took advantage of our people. They maybe even were a part of what caused the Great Depression. If politicians care about the health of our economy, they need to be stopping the price gouging. Congress does have the power to do it. I don’t expect President Bush to like it. They can override him. I think the people of our country would like to know which of their Representatives and Senators are for the health of our economy and which are more interested in oil profits. It is about time politicians understand that there is more to the economy than stock prices and profit.

Posted by hermes21c on March 10th, 2007 filed in Uncategorized | 10,895 Comments »