Thursday, May 24, 2007

Stupid Leading the Stupider

Don't just stand there watching the laws of supply and demand at work, do something!

WASHINGTON -- With gasoline prices at record highs, the U.S. House passed a bill Wednesday that would make gas-price gouging a federal crime.

Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell has pushed such legislation for two years in the Senate, and the Majority Leader Harry Reid said he would bring up her bill in June.

...."We have four refineries in Washington state, so why are our prices so high?" asked Cantwell, a Democrat.

The House vote provoked an immediate veto threat from the White House, which called the bill a form of price controls that could lead to fuel shortages and "bring back long gas lines reminiscent of the 1970s."
Cantwell said the vote -- and her companion bill -- sets up a political battle pitting the American people against the oil industry's "lobbyists and friends in the White House."

Even if approved, the impact of the legislation is uncertain. The biggest question is how price gouging would be defined. Cantwell acknowledged that problem but said the first step was to get criminal penalties on the books.

Ah yes, punishment first, crime later.

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