As the Washington Times reports, yesterday the house passed a bill to make price gouging a federal crime. This is an example of 'doing something and accomplishing nothing.' The enforcement mechanisms would only kick in if there was a national emergency such as hurricane Katrina. Of course, during times like this ,that is when price rationing is most crucial. As I mentioned last year ( November 9, 2005-Gas Prices II-Unspoken Miracle), it was a miracle that we got through that crisis and were still able to find gas at the local station.
Correctly reasoning, the White House claimed this would "bring back long gas lines reminiscent of the 1970s." If you know your history and economics you will recall that those lines were created by governement regulation. They were not the direct result of an energy crisis. The Federal Trade Commission has found little evidence of price gouging and also testified against the legislation. President Bush vowed to veto the legilsation if it passes in the Senate.