Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Item pricing inertia

Gov. Rick Snyder generated a certain amount of steam in his recent state of the state address when he talked about getting rid of anti-competitive laws and used the example of Michigan's item pricing law.

Michigan is one of just two state that have such an outmoded and non-productive law. And, since few consumers understand it or appreciate it, one has to wonder why Michgan still has it.

Shouldn't any useless and non-competitive law be abolished? Doesn't the state need every advantage and doesn't it need to shed every disadvantage?

Just look at who is in favor of this law and why. It is the unions representing retail workers who are afraid it will result in fewer workers.

This is similar to the thinking in old thinking in India and China where excess workers were retained in useless occupations, because otherwise those workers would have nothing to do. Have we come to that? And, I might point out that that line of reasoning is rapidly disappearing in those over-populated former third-world countries. They are the ones who are now employing their excess workers with our jobs.

Who else favored it? Former Attorney General Mike Cox used to make headlines by conducting media-focused raids on large retailers such as WalMart. They were caught redhanded not following the useless law and were fined -- but probably not enough to cover the cost of the investigation or the prosecution. It was a bit of political grandstanding intended to win votes. Well, you can tell from the last election that nobody remembered it as a blow for the little guy.

I think most people recognize that unit pricing is just one more hidden tax that does little more than support the bureaucracy that is charged with enforcing it.

So go for it Gov. Snyder. Stamp out those useless laws and see how much of the state bureaucracy we can shed with them.


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