When products don't have price tags, the consumer is the loser. It's much more difficult for consumers to double-check what they're being charged at the checkout when the price isn't marked on the product, and it's also more difficult to compare prices at different stores.
This means that doing away with mandatory price tags serves as an anticompetitive measure that serves only the supermarket chains. The proposal's drafters - backed by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Wednesday - hinted that the change would lower costs and therefore also lower prices. However, manufacturers have complained that when they lower the wholesale prices they charge supermarkets, the discounts never make their way to consumers. Instead, they disappear into the retailers' pockets.
The supermarket chains are perfectly happy to let lobbyists do their dirty work. Instead of running through the Knesset halls themselves, the tycoons pay lobbying firms tens of thousands of dollars a year - an investment that more than pays for itself in the form of friendly legislation.
Meanwhile, elections are approaching. The public would do well to remember which MKs and ministers are serving the tycoons' interests, and keep that in mind when they vote in the political parties' primaries.
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