David Giacalone on the FTC’s Price Gouging Statement


David Giacalone has a nice new post up about the FTC’s recent position statement against a federal price gouging law. I had missed this development last week.

According the FTC’s chairperson, “[e]nforcement of the antitrust laws is the better way to protect consumers.”

As a first take, I think I agree that there is no pressing need for yet more federal regulation of economic activity, especially where states are both capable, and in this case motivated, to take care of the “problem” themselves. This is particularly true in this context, where the harms attributed to price gouging are localized and fleeting.

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3 Responses

  1. Dave, I agree that there is no urgent need for federal legislation — unless someone on that level comes up with an especially workable definition that can be uniformly applied across the nation.

    As with most opponents, the crux of the FTC Statement went to ALL price-gouging laws, so the remarks at my weblog are aimed at the general opposition. As a former FTC antitrust lawyer, I surely agree with Chairman Majoras that we need continuing close scrutiny of the petroleum industry, and effective antitrust enforcement, should price or supply manipulations be discovered that unreasonably restrain trade in any important product in the wake of natural or manmade disasters.

  2. After he saw my prior Comment, the ghost of my old Sicilian Grandpa wanted me to point out that the “G” in our last name is soft, but not invisible.

  3. price-gouging: the ftc doesn’t convince me

    While I was in Washington in a hypo-blogging mode, the FTC told a Senate committee that “Federal Price Gouging Laws Would ‘Unne- cessarily Hurt Consumers’.” (FTC Press Release