As the old song from The Wiz says – you can’t win, you can’t break even, you can’t get out of the game. Via Radley Balko comes this libertarian joke:
Three guys are in a jail cell. They start to talking and find out that they’re all gas station owners.
The first one says, “I set my prices at a couple of cents higher than my competitors. I’m in here for price-gouging.”
The second one says “I set my prices at a couple of cents lower than my competitors. I’m in here for predatory practices.”
The third one says “I set my prices at the same price as my competitors. I’m in here for collusion!”
And here’s some evidence that this joke is, sadly, all too realistic. The state of Minnesota has just fined a gas station chain $140,000 for selling gas “below the state’s legal minimum price.” I’m sure glad we’ve got the government around to protect us consumers from lower prices, aren’t you?