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The Grave Consequences of Burying Competition

Here’s a letter to USA Today:

Kudos to Scott Bullock, Jeff Rowes, and their colleagues at the Institute for Justice for defending the right of monks at St. Joseph Abbey in Louisiana to sell caskets – and, hence, for defending the right of people to buy caskets from whomever they please (“In defense of monks and free enterprise,” August 12).

I have personal evidence that Louisiana’s requirement that all caskets be bought from a licensed funeral director is simply meant to protect funeral directors from competition.

When my mother died in 2008, a friend recommended that we bury her in a casket from St. Joseph Abbey.  While making arrangements at the funeral home – but before we mentioned an Abbey casket to the funeral director – my family and I were shown several caskets that the home offered for sale.  All were pricey.  When we finally mentioned that we were considering a casket from St. Joseph Abbey, the funeral director suddenly remembered that he offered some less-expensive caskets.  Only then did he show us his more competitively priced models.

Donald J. Boudreaux