Obama's New "Business Czar" and the State's War on Prices


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Prices for gasoline, soda, hotel rooms, and batteries have risen sharply in areas affected by Superstorm Sandy. In some areas of New Jersey, residents waited on line for hours to buy gasoline. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo have stepped up efforts to crack down on retailers looking to make increased profits on the storm. With inefficiencies created by long lines, Lauren and Demetri discuss if there is a case for price gouging, even during the aftermath of a storm like Hurricane Sandy, in today's "Loose Change." Demetri thinks that the very term "gouging" is pejorative, and that trying to regulate what price is exorbitant, instead of letting the market determine that, is asking for trouble.

President Obama announced plans to create a new cabinet-level position called the Secretary of Business. Obama said on MSNBC's Morning Joe that "We should have one Secretary of Business, instead of nine different departments that are dealing with things like giving loans to SBA or helping companies with exports. There should be a one-stop shop." Obama then blamed Congress for this consolidation not happening before because lawmakers have been "very protective about not giving up their jurisdiction over various pieces of government." Lauren and Demetri discuss the usefulness of a "Business Czar," and why president after president feels the need to intervene in the market in order to help the very businesses' that his policies are hurting.