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Retail Prices, Utility Politics and Swine Flu

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Retail Prices, Utility Politics and Swine Flu

The Maryland legislature bans manufacturers from setting minimum retail prices for their products.

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist plays hardball with the state’s public utilities.

Doctors begin dispensing the new swine flu vaccine.

Listen to LibertyWeek, the CEI podcast, here.

1. CONSUMER

The Maryland legislature bans manufacturers from setting minimum retail prices for their products.

CEI Expert Available to Comment: Vice President for Policy Wayne Crews and Journalism Fellow Ryan Young on why price isn’t the only factor in retail transactions:

“Lots of goods, from high-definition televisions to cars to golf clubs, tend not to sell very well unless consumers can learn a lot about the product first. These products have high information costs. In-store displays, demonstrations, and knowledgeable sales staff are essential for getting consumers the information they need to pick exactly what they want. Providing these services is not free for retailers. The extra profit margin built into a manufacturer-restrained price is what covers those costs. The investment pays off by increasing sales in the long run. If consumers see up close that a certain type of television is to their liking, they are more likely to buy it than if they don't get to try it out.”

 

2. BUSINESS

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist plays hardball with the state’s public utilities.

CEI Expert Available to Comment: Editorial Director Ivan Osorio on why Crist’s political moves could leave Floridians in the dark:

“Crist’s moves are indeed galling in light of Florida’s past history of relatively sound governance at the state level. Now the state’s residents will need to worry about blackouts — in addition to the state being able to shoulder insurance payments — the next time a large storm hits.”

 

3. HEALTH

Doctors begin dispensing the new swine flu vaccine.

CEI Expert Available to Comment: Adjunct Analyst Michael Fumento on why we need to keep the flu threat in perspective:

“Six months into the swine flu outbreak China, with a population of over 1.3 billion or a fifth of the word’s population, has just reported its first swine flu death. According to the WHO, 250,000 - 500,000 people worldwide die of seasonal flu each year. Do the math for yourself on this one.”

 

Listen to LibertyWeek, the CEI podcast, here.