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On behalf of nearly 850,000 FreedomWorks members nationwide, I respectfully urge you to VOTE NO on H.R. 1252, the Federal Price Gouging Protection Act sponsored by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI). This legislation would make it a federal crime to sell crude oil, gas, natural gas or petroleum at a price that is “unconscionably excessive” or “takes unfair advantage” of unordinary market conditions. This legislation mandates severe fines for any violations including market manipulation, false price reporting and unconscionable prices.
While the rising price of gasoline and other fuel is a growing concern, government intervention would only exacerbate the problem by stifling the market reactions to higher prices. By enacting price gouging legislation, the government would be setting prices on gas that is acceptable to them, rather than letting the demands of the market dictate the appropriate pricing. But prices send important signals about markets and the use of scarce resources. Changing prices spur innovation, efficiency, and conservation in the use of scarce resources. Artificial price controls ignore these signals and distort markets, often leading consumers to increase demand while providing no incentives to boost supply or find more cost-effective substitutes.
In addition, any federal regulation of fuel prices would be unnecessary, as many states already have their own legislation regarding price gouging.
Rep. Stupak and the co-sponsors of this anti-price gouging legislation are the same lawmakers that favor strong mandates on global warming and caps on carbon emissions. But they can’t have it both ways. If the sponsors of this legislation were concerned about fuel prices, they would support increased domestic oil production to ensure our energy independence and avoid new mandates on energy use that would artificially restrict supply and increase energy prices. Instead, proponents of global warming endorse policies that would limit overall energy use and lead to higher prices.
Instead of enacting reactionary legislation, Congress should seek out long-term, pro-market solutions to our energy needs that would lead to increased production and capacity. We will count your vote on Rep. Stupak’s “Federal Price Gouging Protection Act” as a KEY VOTE when calculating the FreedomWorks Economic Scorecard for 2007. The FreedomWorks Economic Scorecard is used to determine eligibility for the Jefferson Award, which recognizes members of Congress with voting records that support economic freedom.
President and CEO