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Dairy subsidies: Wards of Leviathan

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Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013, 8:43 p.m.

The Pittsburgh talk radio host was outraged that Congress hadn't acted to renew the 2008 farm bill. He lamented the effect of higher milk prices, perhaps double or more, that would follow. Families could not afford such a thing, he wailed. It was proof positive yet again how out of touch Congress is, his bleat continued.

Sadly, he's far from alone in his ignorance, the exact kind of economic intellectual vapidity that's bankrupting this nation.

On Sunday, Congress agreed to a one-year extension of the farm bill; the specter of $8-a-gallon milk prices was averted.

But the fact is that the American dairy farmer has been suckling at the taxpayer teat for a century, the beneficiary of massive government price supports and subsidies and counterintuitive “marketing” restrictions that have only perverted the free market and made dairy farmers willing wards of Leviathan.

Government policies have only encouraged overproduction that depresses prices and creates a “need” for perpetual taxpayer subsidies. What a racket.

“(T)here is no need for federal intervention in dairy markets,” scholar James Bovard notes in The Wall Street Journal. “The supply and demand for the vast majority of food products made in America function just fine without government price controls.”

America is due a complete overhaul of a dairy policy: Out with the Soviet model, in with a return to the free market.

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