This is what you get when you elect Democrats, America:
Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) is pushing the Federal Price Gouging Prevention Act. Backed by 86 Democrats and three Republicans, the bill would make it a crime to "sell crude oil, gasoline, natural gas, or petroleum distillates at a price that is unconscionably excessive or indicates that the seller is taking unfair advantage [of] unusual market conditions (whether real or perceived) or the circumstances of an emergency to increase prices unreasonably."To be fair, there are Republicans, notably Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, pushing similar bills, but if the GOP were in the majority they'd have little trouble stopping this ridiculous idea.
The legislation provides corporate penalties of $3 million a day for civil action and $150 million for criminal conduct, as well as a fine up to $2 million and ten years in prison for individuals. State attorneys general -- usually ambitious governor-wannabes -- also could bring civil actions. Let the lawsuits begin!
But with the Democrats in control? Well... expect to see de facto price controls soon if Bush doesn't get the veto pen out again.