Libertarian Party of Alabama Chair Stephen Gordon speaks out about gas price gouging laws, gas shortages, and the Wall Street bailout proposal

In a pair of press releases, Libertarian Party of Alabama chair Stephen Gordon addresses the Wall Street bailout proposal that was narrowly defeated yesterday in Congress, as well as the gas shortages currently taking place in Georgia and several Southeastern states.

Gordon blames gas shortages on anti-price gouging laws which several states have passed, pointing out that neighboring states which have not passed such laws have no gasoline shortages.

In the second press release, Gordon points out that Libertarian Party Presidential candidate Bob Barr accurately predicted that more bailout proposals would follow the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bailouts.

Atlanta – For the last couple of weeks, the availability of gasoline has dominated the news in the Southeast. Georgia, which has stricter laws against “price gouging” than Alabama does, is suffering from long gas lines at the few service stations which have a remaining supply of petroleum.

Today’s Montgomery Advertiser calls for additional government intervention into the natural process of supply and demand.

“Some other Southeastern states take a different approach, and it would be wise for Alabama legislators to take a look at these laws,” the paper declared. “Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee prohibit any price increases that are not related to increased costs. A gas station may pass along to customers the higher costs it incurs for fuel, for example, but may not raise prices beyond that level.”

“As I live in Morgan County but work in Atlanta, I see the impact of government intervention into the retail gasoline market on a daily basis,” said Libertarian Party of Alabama Chairman Stephen Gordon. “I bought gas last night in Calhoun County, Alabama, but by the time I made it to Cobb County, Georgia, there was no gas anywhere to be found.”

“Consumers have no incentive to conserve gasoline when the prices are artificially low,” Gordon continued. “If the cost was higher, they would be driving less or using more efficient vehicles. Additionally, when gas prices become high enough, there is an increased motivation for gas station owners and operators to truck fuel in from greater distances – passing the additional cost on to consumers.”

An Associated Press article also published today anecdotally highlighted this point. “Right now, I’ll pay anything for gas,” construction worker Larry Jenkins said. “I don’t care if it’s $5 or $6 a gallon. I need it.”

“Alabamians should be proud that we beat Georgia on the football field over the weekend,” Gordon said. “We should also be proud that we have better public policy pertaining to price gouging than Georgia. Or would the Montgomery Advertiser prefer that we limit our football scores to no more than one touchdown per quarter?”

As evidenced by recent debate pertaining to federal bailouts, the Libertarian Party is the only political party in America opposed to government intervention in the marketplace.

Birmingham, AL – The U.S House of Representatives failed to pass the $700 billion bailout measure earlier today by margin of 205 to 228. Of the Alabama congressional delegation, Congressman Aderholt was the only person to vote against the bill.

“While I often find myself at odds with Congressman Aderholt, his vote today should be certainly be applauded,” said Libertarian Party of Alabama Chairman Stephen Gordon. “Unlike the two major parties, Libertarians support fiscal responsibility and oppose government intervention into the marketplace. Public opinion polling shows that an overwhelming majority of Americans agree with the libertarian position on this and many other issues.”

Today, the New York Times stated that “a majority of the House voted along with Bob Barr, the Libertarian who said, ‘We need to make Wall Street take the hit for its irresponsible investment decisions.'” Previously, Politico indicated that former Congressman Barr, who is running for President on the Libertarian Party ticket, had earned the bragging rights to say “I told you so” about the general bailout situation.

Barr accurately predicted that once the bailout floodgate is opened for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, it will be difficult to stop the process for other corporate or government entities. On Neil Cavuto’s Fox News program, Barr referred to the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac intervention as “a BOFH. This is a bailout from hell.”

“Barr is consistently and courageously battling on principle for the rights of the common man — unlike most of our state congressional delegation, leaders from both parties on the Hill, as well as McCain and Obama,” said Gordon. “Obama claims to offer change, while he’s picking the pocket of the taxpayer to enrich major corporations. McCain’s claim of being a maverick is disingenuous at best, as his statements on the bailout place him in league with the president and the rest of the senior GOP leadership. The only presidential candidate supporting a constitutional limited role of government is Congressman Barr.”

The Libertarian Party of Alabama urges all Alabama voters to continue to contact their elected representatives and demand that they vote “no” on any current or future bailout proposal.

Stephen Gordon serves as the Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Alabama, Chair of the Libertarian State Leadership Alliance (national organization of LP state chairs) and as the eCampaign Manager for the Bob Barr 2008 Presidential Campaign.

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