Sunday, March 19, 2006

TOO LITTLE GOVERNMENT REGULATION

In a few instances we can prove that the government engages in too little regulation. Take truth in advertising. Why do we even have such a phrase, such a concept? It is because a small minority of business persons, greedy and crooked, like to cheat the ordinary consumer.

Fortunately, the words “free” and “sale” and “savings” are now meaningless. They have been used by crooks so long that people no longer trust them, so they have to a great extent become harmless.

How many clever phrases have been used by the car dealers? Are they inspired, or instigated, by the manufacturers, or are the makers merely complicit in the schemes? Take the “factory invoice” and “factory rebate” and the “manufacturer’s suggested retail price.” What do those terms mean? Is it a case of the factory and local dealer making a pretense of giving a good deal, better than the usual market price? What else? How is this different from marking up the price immediately before a “sale?”

When a merchant has a product to sell, she can sell for cash, or on credit. If she sells on credit, she has a risk, and needs interest on her money. If she says “0%” interest, she is jacking up the price. How can it be otherwise? Is this honesty in business?

On KKOB, on the Rush Limbaugh program, we hear repeatedly an advertisement for wood flooring. Bellowood, or Belleauwood, or a sound-a-like. The pitch is that the company offers a “50 year warranty.” Somewhere else in the pitch (smaller print) we hear that the warranty is for “50 years so long as you live there.” With the fine print, it is a warranty for 50 years or as long as the buyer lives in the room that is floored, whichever is sooner. People move residences every four or five years on average. Go figure.

Where are the regulators? The enforcers? No doubt the honest businesspersons would be happy to be rid of the unfair competition of the crooks.

Think of it this way. You work and pile up credits (US dollars). When the merchant sells you a service or product by use of fraud, she is stealing your work. Instead of "Buyer beware!" the law should speak out, "Crooked business persons beware!"

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