Caveat Proletarius: The ALEC Model Consumer Protection Law

by Ira Rheingold

It's recently been announced in the press that the American Legislative Exchange Council or ALEC, an organization of "conservative state lawmakers" has created a "model state consumer protection law" that will be introduced in statehouses across the nation in 2007. (CL&P has previously mentioned this development here and here; the proposal's full text can be found in an appendix to this law review article.)

As an organization that claims to be interested in the "Jeffersonian principles of free market, limited government, federalism and individual liberty," one might expect that their model law would promote a marketplace that rewards honest behavior, promotes fair competition, and supports a private incentive-driven regulatory scheme that would offset the need for more heavy-handed government regulation. Unfortunately, those expectations would be very wrong.