As we’ve mentioned many times on these pages, price controls that were last employed on a widespread basis during the 1970s inflation era were eventually discarded by both parties as an abysmal failure.
So we shouldn’t be too surprised that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants to bring them back.
On Thursday, Pelosi pushed through the House her Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Prevention Act – which would allow the president to declare an “energy emergency proclamation” when prices are rising. During the emergency, companies would be barred from charging “unconscionably excessive” prices for gasoline or any other fuels. The Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general would be empowered to pursue violators.
There is no legal definition of price gouging, but apparently, it is the new pornography – the pols know it when they see it.
Sadly, only four Democrats – Liz Fletcher of Texas, Jared Golden of Maine, Kathleen Rice of New York, and Stephanie Murphy of Florida – voted no.
Pelosi isn’t done yet. She is now pressuring the administration to file criminal charges against baby formula companies. “I think there might be a need for indictment,” Pelosi said when asked about her plans to combat the formula shortage. No one mentioned that even her own Appropriations Committee chair admits the baby formula shortage was primarily caused by the FDA’s months-long failure to investigate poor sanitary procedures at an Abbott plant in South Dakota.
These price control measures will make supply chain problems worse and cause prices to rise even faster.