QUESTION: Should Price Gougers, During Disasters, Be Punished Severely?

When a hurricane is headed your way, everyone stocks up. And stores have you at their mercy.

They can set the prices.

Some have said that it’s a matter of setting the price based on availability and call that ‘capitalism’.

That’s not ‘capitalism’ — that’s being a price-gouging a-hole.

Others have called that hogwash and said it’s nothing but a sick way to milk desperate people.

(Guess which camp this ClashDaily Editor fits in…)

We’re not talking about high-end art, antiques, or sports memorabilia here; these are the necessities of life like water and gasoline.

Reports of price-gouging — including $20 for a gallon of gas and $99 for a case of water — are spiking in areas of Texas most affected by Hurricane Harvey.

The Consumer Protection Division of the Texas attorney general’s office said Thursday that it has received more than 500 complaints of price-gouging.

Most of the complaints were that gas stations were charging between $6 and $8 per gallon for gas.

One convenience store in Houston reportedly charged $20 for a gallon of gas, $8.50 for a water bottle, and $99 for a case of water, the attorney general’s office said.

At a Best Western hotel in Robstown, near where Harvey made landfall in Corpus Christi, rooms more than doubled in price after the hurricane, the AG’s office told Austin television station KXAN Thursday. A crew from the station booked a room and was charged $321.89, including taxes, a night. (The normal price is $119 a night.)

Many posted photos on social media to prove the price gouging was taking place.

Mark Elliott, president at the nonprofit research firm Mobility, tweeted a receipt from Thursday of a Chevron gas station in Encinal, Texas that appeared to charge $9.99 per gallon for regular fuel.
Source: Business Insider

ClashDaily has reported on the Best Buy store in Houston that ‘made an error’ and was charging between $42 and $60 per 24 pack of water.

It’s this kind of exploitive behavior that makes people want every damned thing government regulated.

Do private companies really want the government owning everything?

This is how we get there.

And let’s be clear, capitalism is a nice thing.

What do you think?

Should price gougers in emergency situations be punished severely?

Let us know in the comments.

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by Doug Giles

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