Our previous smoke alarm give-a-way blog is seeing more action. A new news story that compliments the previous one is about the State of Iowa giving smoke alarms to 8,000 kids as part of a give-away program to Iowa's children. See the story and the State Fire Marshall's news release to obtain your free smoke alarms. Get the application on the Lombardi Law Firm website link. House fires and especially mobile home fires are a serious problem in all states. If we can get kids involved perhaps there will be fewer deaths come winter.
The Iowa DOT expects to close I-29 due to flooding of the Missouri River, so reports Perry Beeman for the Des Moines Register, DOT expects parts of I-29 to close because of floods. Basically the flooding is being done as part of flood control measures and can't be helped so be on the lookout for alternative routes and when traffic picks up on those alternative routes be mindful that everyone else is also behind schedule so be courteous, slow down and for God's sake put down the cell phones.
This next flood story discusses a law in Iowa that seems odd to me. The Consumer Fraud Act "protects people from those who substantially raise prices for needed goods or services without justification" according to the article. Because Governor Branstad declared disaster emergency due to flooding in Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Monona, Pottawattamie and Woodbury Counties this price gouging rule is said to be in affect. This seems wrong for several reasons. First how do you prove a "substantial price increase" and prove that it was unjustified? Doesn't demand control price? I thought we were a free market economy run by capitalists? Shouldn't the demand side be controlled? Second, why not just let them drive to another county to pick up goods and services if the price is too high? Previously I owned a cabin in northern Minnesota and you want to talk about price gouging! Holy mackerel. Those guys had what I commonly referred to as the Iowa price and the Home Boy price. Back to the Iowa fraud act. If you know the price and still agree to pay it, when you know you can simply drive to Des Moines and get a better price how is that fraud? Wow, this is kind of crazy if you ask me. Are we capitalists or socialists? Come on Tom Miller, are you serious? Read AG Miller's press release at this link. I'm not so sure this law can hold up under Iowa's Constitution. Think about it for a minute. If people prone to flooding need sump pumps and en masse they head to the local hardware store to buy one the hardware guy is soon out of sump pumps. It's only the guy that risked his money to buy and have more on hand when needed so why punish him form having the foresight to increase his inventory of sump pumps when they are most needed? Shouldn't the hardware guy be able to charge more for providing sump pumps when they are most needed? Why is the AG's office trying to dissuade the hardware guy from risking his capital to increase inventory and make an extra buck from that risk?
"The price gouging rule protects Iowans from anyone who, without justification, substantially raises prices for needed goods or services," said Miller. "We will pursue reports of price gouging and reports of people trying to take advantage of storm victims."
This really sounds dumb to me because in the end the hardware guy won't buy extra sump pumps because there isn't any way to make a profit commensurate with the risk of spending money to increase his inventory. Does the law work for or against the people needing sump pumps? And ask yourself this, will the little guy who runs his independent hardware store be treated the same under the law as Lowes or Home Depot? Huh, you be the judge.
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