Agree, the creepy charity is irrelevant.
we're talking about leveraging someone's severe misfortune for profit
Trauma surgeons profit from severe misfortune. Relief workers take home a day's pay. I'm not sure what you mean by "leveraging" -- do you object that someone is making more profit than you approve of, or that they are benefiting from a misfortune, or the combination?
Even Texas has anti-gouging laws
This seems irrelevant: the question is whether gouging is right or wrong. Laws do not make it so.
So it seems like a relatively extremist argument to say "Hey, free market, amirite?" as an attempt to justify unbridled human greed.
Extreme, and ridiculous. We don't need to refute a silly, four-word argument. If you designate the purpose of the argument as "to justify a vice" it is much easier to dismiss than if the purpose is "to increase the supply of urgently needed supplies during a disaster." But we should not argue about intentions, we should argue about results.
The only negative consequences that I can think of are the cost of enforcing anti-gouging laws
Perhaps confiscating the goods would defray these expenses. But the law should also provide a deterring, punitive effect. Do you agree that both buyer and seller are necessary to complete a gouging transaction? If so, both are participating in an illegal act. Would you support prosecuting the purchaser in a gouging sale? If not, what will you tell the guy who was about to pay double for a generator so he can keep the freezer running?
The negative consequence I first thought of was that 19 generators, trucked 600 miles into the disaster zone, didn't help the storm victims. Anti-gouging laws clearly limit the incentive to bring new supply where there is a shortage.
and the cost of government assistance programs designed to boost the influx of resources into areas of suffering people. But the majority of Americans, including me, have decided that we'll foot that bill.
This is not a cost of prohibiting gouging. It's a cost of meeting the emergency demand with a public program. If, indeed, the majority of Americans support this program, and they successfully elect politicians who promise to provide this program, and the politicians try to keep their promises, and the bad party does not interfere, and the budget is allocated, and the agencies are created, and competent, honest leaders are appointed, and the funds come through, and any unintended consequences of government competing with honest businesspeople are avoided, and clever beneficiaries do not connive ways to capture and hoard and resell the handouts, and a gaggle of contracting companies do not squeeze the program for every nickel, so at last everyone who wants a generator gets one, then, at last, the gouger will have nothing to do.