PolySciFi Blog

Saturday, May 07, 2005


Save me from the low gas prices!!!

Surely some customer said that in Maryland.

A gasoline price war erupted in St. Mary's County last week after one station slashed its price for regular to $1.999 a gallon and spurred three others to follow suit, giving drivers some hope of relief at the pump.

But the price dip proved fleeting.

Maryland regulators quickly stepped in and told the stations that their prices were too low. They needed to go up by 5 cents.

Looking at this episode and thinking back to the Nixon's price controls in the 70s, and the long history of rent control, I can't think of a single time where government interference in the price of a market supplied good or service has served the long term interests of the public.

Mess with a monopoly, maybe. Cartels, definitely. As an aside, the government is notorious for creating monosopies which are are just as bad. For example see the flu vaccine issues this Fall.

Anyways, I'm interested in data points, particularly ones that run counter to my ideology (I have lots in favor - that's how it became my ideology.). Can anyone think of a situation where the government interfered with a market set price and the public came out ahead?


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