Accuracy in Advertising

Most of me says this is an incredibly stupid idea – I won’t repeat the reasons Steve Benen mentioned. But a small part of me says… optimal market outcomes go away when you have externalities, crime, market power, or imperfect information. Doesn’t misinformation and outright lying qualify as imperfect information?

Why should the government try to stop crime, but put less effort into halting externalities and market power, and even less into reducing imperfect information? (Or does it?) Is there a way of ensuring that consumers aren’t deceived? Is allowing consumers to be deceived a good thing? Am I right – is this a really dumb idea by Harold Ford or is there something to it? Your thoughts?

BTW… Benen has another interesting post, today on goings on at the General Services Administration (GSA).