Big Milk: A Raw Deal for Consumers; Beverage Socialism Sours the Marketplace
Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES
When it comes to milk, government isn't interested in your health. The red tape imposed on this breakfast favorite isn't just there to ensure dairy products aren't spoiled. Rather, the rules intentionally limit competition and keep prices high. In this crony capitalist venture, consumers are the ones being milked.
Last month, the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry discovered that the Fresh Markets grocery chain committed the crime of having a sale on milk. As part of a promotional deal, the retailer advertised a gallon of milk for $2.99, which falls below the government-mandated markup of 6 percent above invoice and shipping price.
They can sell it 6 percent over cost all day long. It's when they sell it below cost that it becomes a problem, State Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain told the Baton Rouge Advocate. The government forced the store to end the promotion and raise prices.
Fans of big government who think regulations are there to help the consumer ought to take notice. Milk manipulation has been in place since the New Deal, when the dairy industry and government regulators began their collusion. Congress created marketing order rules setting minimum prices that dairy processors must pay to dairy farmers in certain regions. Almost two-thirds of milk is produced under federal marketing orders, and most of the rest is produced under similar state schemes such as Louisiana's.
The orders limit competition by stopping entrepreneurs from supplying milk at less than the government-set prices. …