Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Government is to free market what oil is to water

Stumbled upon this article about a gas station owner being forced to raise his gas prices because of meddling by the state government.

MERRILL, Wis. (AP) -- 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 are too good: They 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 in late April 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.

Since when did it become a crime to sell something at cost or even at a loss? If you want to take a bath financially, it should be your prerogative to do so. You won't be able to do it for long unless your pockets are unusually deep.

Common sense and government - two things that will never peacefully coexist.

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