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Old 08-18-2011, 01:51 PM   #1
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Default US Government imposes tax on MILK!

This is outrageous. The Milk Cartel in this country is just another indication of how entirely corrupt the US Government has become, and how we need to completely abolish it and adopt an Anarcho-Communist utopia.
The Madness of American Milk Prices

by Chris Edwards

As Congress considers a major farm bill in coming weeks, it has an opportunity to cut wasteful subsidy programs and cut food prices for average families. Dairy programs would be a great place to start, since milk prices have soared in recent months.

Consider the illogic of federal dairy policies. They jack up milk prices for millions of families at the same time that other programs, such as food stamps, aim to reduce food costs. And although federal law generally prohibits cartels, a federal dairy cartel enforces high milk prices. If Coke and Pepsi got together and agreed to hike prices, they would be prosecuted. But with milk, raising prices is government policy.

The trouble started in 1930s with "marketing order" regulations. Those rules set minimum prices that dairy processors must pay to dairy farmers in 10 regions of the country. Today, about two–thirds of milk is produced under federal marketing orders, and most of the rest is produced under similar state schemes such as California's.

Marketing orders limit competition, because entrepreneurs are not allowed to supply milk at less than the government prices. The system also restricts milk from lower–cost regions, such as the Midwest, from gaining market share in higher–cost regions, such as the Southeast. Government data show that residents of Cincinnati paid an average $2.68 for a gallon of milk in 2006, while those in New Orleans paid $4.10, and government policy is largely to blame.

On top of marketing orders, Congress added a dairy price–support program in 1949. This program helps to keep prices high by guaranteeing that the government will purchase any amount of cheese, butter, and dry milk from processors at a set minimum price.

In 2002, Congress added an income support program for dairy farmers, which distributes cash payments whenever prices fall below target levels. Perversely, this program causes overproduction and thus downward pressure on prices — in direct opposition to the price support program, which tries to raise milk prices.

To enforce artificially high prices, the government imposes import barriers on milk, butter, cheese, and other products. Without those barriers, consumers could simply purchase lower–priced foreign goods. Imports of cheese, butter, and dried milk are limited to about 5 percent or less of U.S. consumption.

All these policies add up to higher prices. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found that U.S. policies create a 26 percent "implicit tax" on milk consumers. That "milk tax" is regressive, meaning that it harms low–income families the most.

The Government Accountability Office compared U.S. dairy prices to world prices over the period 1998 to 2004. It found that U.S. prices for butter averaged twice the world price, cheese prices were about 50 percent higher, and dry milk prices were 24 percent or more higher.

Dairy entrepreneur Hein Hettinga started a dairy farm and milk bottling plant in Arizona in the 1990s outside of the government system. He sold his milk to Arizona stores and to Costco in California at 20 cents per gallon less than the government–regulated milk.

Established milk businesses were not happy with the new competition, and they spent millions of dollars lobbying Congress to intervene. At the behest of home–state dairy interests, Democrats and Republicans teamed up in 2006 to change the law and crush Hettinga.

Based on his experience, Hettinga lamented, "I had an awakening … it's not totally free enterprise in the United States."

U.S. dairy programs are Byzantine in complexity, but the ultimate effects are to transfer wealth from average families to dairy businesses. In this year's farm bill, let's hope policymakers take the side of average families for a change, and repeal the damaging milk cartel.

Source: http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=8479
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Old 08-18-2011, 02:13 PM   #2
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Can't tell if trolling...
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Old 08-18-2011, 02:22 PM   #3
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Definitely trolling, Jack. Manufactured outrage at what Joe perceives to be an entirely reasonable state of affairs, in order to demonstrate the absurdity of what he believes to be unreasonably extremist positions by those of us who desire a radically smaller and less intrusive government.

tl;dr -- Joe is admitting that he welcomes his new overlords.
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Old 08-18-2011, 02:26 PM   #4
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he's just leveling the playing field.
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Old 08-18-2011, 03:17 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Scrappy Jack View Post
Can't tell if trolling...
Think of it as what musicians call a Style Parody. A post created in such a way as to emulate the general style of writing and thought used by certain other forum members.

I basically just said to myself "What's the most absurd thing I can possibly think of to get riled up about and call for the dissolution of the federal government over?" and figured that a Milk Tax would probably be pretty ludicrous. So I did some googling, and sure enough, there's somebody out there with a whole website dedicated to denouncing the US Dairy Industry and claiming that a conspiracy exists between cow owners and the Fed to artificially control the price of milk, thus enriching themselves at the expense of the people.

And yes, I welcome our Mechanical Bovine Overloads Guardians.
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Old 08-18-2011, 03:22 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
Think of it as what musicians call a Style Parody. A post created in such a way as to emulate the general style of writing and thought used by certain other forum members.
I got that part, but...

... now that you have discovered another potential element of "cronie corporatism," do you not find it objectionable? Not necessarily to the reductio ad absurdum point of complete government dissolution - but possibly to the point of attempting to reduce that distortion (and those like it)?
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Old 08-18-2011, 06:32 PM   #7
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And, Joe, you seem to miss the larger point that those of us bashing the US gov't are making. Where in the Constitution does it say the gov't has the right to meddle in business like this? Why is it even necessary at all? It costs to put the price supports in place. It makes food stamps cost more, and it make the damn dairy products cost everyone more. To what ends? Get out, close it all down, fire the gov't workers, and stop spending tax money on it. Save millions, and let the market decide.

If someone like this Hein Hettinga wants to get in the game and undercut someone else, more power to him. That's how capitalism is supposed to work. Better product (or at least the same) at reduced prices. No gov't meddling, and less taxpayer cost. What is the downside?

This is only the tip of the iceberg. The rabbit farming thing is more, and I'm sure anyone here can dig out doxens of examples. It's waste, and over-protection. Regulate the quality/safety of the milk, sure. But not the price, the profits or who is making money off it.
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Old 08-18-2011, 06:35 PM   #8
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I may or may not currently have a jar of raw milk in my refrigerator right now.*




*Please don't come and take it away, milk police!
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Old 08-18-2011, 06:37 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by rleete View Post
And, Joe, you seem to miss the larger point that those of us bashing the US gov't are making. Where in the Constitution does it say the gov't has the right to meddle in business like this? Why is it even necessary at all? It costs to put the price supports in place. It makes food stamps cost more, and it make the damn dairy products cost everyone more. To what ends? Get out, close it all down, fire the gov't workers, and stop spending tax money on it. Save millions, and let the market decide.

If someone like this Hein Hettinga wants to get in the game and undercut someone else, more power to him. That's how capitalism is supposed to work. Better product (or at least the same) at reduced prices. No gov't meddling, and less taxpayer cost. What is the downside?

This is only the tip of the iceberg. The rabbit farming thing is more, and I'm sure anyone here can dig out doxens of examples. It's waste, and over-protection. Regulate the quality/safety of the milk, sure. But not the price, the profits or who is making money off it.
yeah but it's only cost of a coffee a day.



Quote:
At Wednesday’s town hall in Atkinson, Ill., a local farmer who said he grows corn and soybeans expressed his concerns to President Barack Obama about “more rules and regulations” — including those concerning dust, noise and water runoff — that he heard would negatively affect his business.

The president, on day three of his Midwest bus tour, replied: “If you hear something is happening, but it hasn’t happened, don’t always believe what you hear.”

When the room broke into soft laughter, the president added, “No — and I’m serious about that.”

Saying that “folks in Washington” like to get “all ginned up” about things that aren’t necessarily happening (“Look what’s comin’ down the pipe!”), Obama’s advice was simple: “Contact USDA.”

“Talk to them directly. Find out what it is that you’re concerned about,” Obama told the man. “My suspicion is, a lot of times, they’re going to be able to answer your questions and it will turn out that some of your fears are unfounded.”

Call Uncle Sam. Sensible advice, but perhaps the president has forgotten just how difficult it can be for ordinary citizens to get answers from the government.

When this POLITICO reporter decided to take the president's advice and call the USDA for an answer to the Atkinson town hall attendee's question, I found myself in a bureaucratic equivalent of hot potato — getting bounced from the feds to Illinois state agriculture officials to the state farm bureau.

Here's a rundown of what happened when I started by calling the USDA's general hotline to inquire about information related to the effects of noise and dust pollution rules on Illinois farmers:

Wednesday, 2:40 p.m. ET: After calling the USDA’s main line, I am told to call the Illinois Department of Agriculture. Here, I am patched through to a man who is identified as being in charge of "support services." I leave a message.

3:53 p.m.: The man calls me back and recommends in a voicemail message that I call the Illinois Farm Bureau — a non-governmental organization.

4:02 p.m.: A woman at the Illinois Farm Bureau connects me to someone in the organization’s government affairs department. That person tells me they "don't quite know who to refer you to."

4:06 p.m.: I call the Illinois Department of Agriculture again, letting the person I spoke with earlier know that calling the Illinois Farm Bureau had not been fruitful. He says "those are the kinds of groups that are kind of on top of this or kind of follow things like this. We deal with pesticide here in our bureau."

"You only deal with pesticides?" I ask.

"We deal with other things … but we mainly deal with pesticides here," he says, and gives me the phone number for the office of the department’s director, where he says there are "policy people" as well as the director's staff.

4:10 p.m.: Someone at the director's office transfers me to the agriculture products inspection department, where a woman says their branch deals with things like animal feed, seed and fertilizer.

"I'm going to transfer you to one of the guys at environmental programs."

4:15 p.m.: I reach the answering machine at the environmental programs department, and leave a message.

4:57 p.m.: A man from the environmental programs department gets back to me: "I hate to be the regular state worker that's always accused of passing the buck, but noise and dust regulation would be under our environmental protection agency, rather than the Agriculture Department," he says, adding that he has forwarded my name and number to the agriculture adviser at IEPA.

On Thursday morning, POLITICO started the hunt for an answer again, this time calling the USDA's local office in Henry County, Ill., where the town hall took place.

9:42 a.m.:
Asked if someone at the office might be able to provide me with the information I requested, the woman on the phone responds, “Not right now. We may have to actually look that up — did you Google this or anything?”

When I say that I’m a reporter and would like to discuss my experience with someone who handles media relations there, I am referred to the USDA’s state office in Champaign. I leave a message there.

10:40 a.m.: A spokeswoman for the Illinois Natural Resources Conservation Service calls me, to whom I explain my multiple attempts on Wednesday and Thursday to retrieve the information I was looking for.

“What I can tell you is our particular agency does not deal with regulations,” she tells me. “We deal with volunteers who voluntarily want to do things. I think the reason you got that response from the Cambridge office is because in regard to noise and dust regulation, we don’t have anything to do with that.”

She adds that the EPA would be more capable of answering questions regarding regulations.

Finally, I call the USDA’s main media relations department, based here in Washington, where I explain to a spokesperson about my failed attempts to obtain an answer to the Illinois farmer’s question. This was their response, via email:

“Secretary Vilsack continues to work closely with members of the Cabinet to help them engage with the agricultural community to ensure that we are separating fact from fiction on regulations because the administration is committed to providing greater certainty for farmers and ranchers. Because the question that was posed did not fall within USDA jurisdiction, it does not provide a fair representation of USDA’s robust efforts to get the right information to our producers throughout the country.”

So, still no answer to the farmer’s question.
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Old 08-18-2011, 07:33 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by rleete View Post
And, Joe, you seem to miss the larger point that those of us bashing the US gov't are making.
No, I get it.

The point I was trying to make was that if you try hard enough, it's possible to be offended by damn near anything. Radio talk-show hosts prove this every day. And if you read the right blogs and articles, it's possible to become convinced that pretty much every single facet of government is evil and must be abolished. That's all fine and well from the standpoint of an academic term-paper, but as a practical matter, we really can't go and dismantle the entire government. It may not be perfect, but it beats anarchy and chaos.

The armchair abolitionists don't seem to acknowledge that fact.


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Where in the Constitution does it say the gov't has the right to meddle in business like this?
Article 1, Section 8.
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Old 08-18-2011, 07:51 PM   #11
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Oh :(.. your overly subsidized milk which you pay pennies for in the first place compared to the rest of the world would be taxable. Life is so hard.
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Old 08-18-2011, 07:59 PM   #12
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(...) your overly subsidized milk (...) would be taxable.
:facepalm:

You guys are completely missing the point.

THERE IS NO TAX ON MILK.

I deliberately distorted the facts, cited an old and misleading article as evidence, and used diversion and misrepresentation to make it SEEM as though the truth of the matter was different from reality.

It was supposed to be a joke- a wry criticism of the way that arguments commonly are put forth around here- and yet some folks are lapping it up, if you'll excuse the deliberate lame pun.
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Old 08-18-2011, 08:01 PM   #13
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I know. I said *would* be.

I got that it was a joke.
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Old 08-18-2011, 08:04 PM   #14
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I'm all for milk tax. That way all the brown canadians will stop coming to my costco and buying all of it =P

Seriously, we sell more milk than any costco in the world. 3 semi trailers full per day. All the Canindians coming down from across the boarder. Its disgusting watching these people fill up their carts with milk day in and day out.
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Old 08-18-2011, 08:05 PM   #15
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That's because milk is hella expensive up here.
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Old 08-18-2011, 08:08 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by falcon View Post
That's because milk is hella expensive up here.
Actually, I think milk is just hella cheap down here. Like you said, no one else pays the ludicrously low prices we pay for dairy in this country.

I hardly consume any milk myself but the cheese prices up there is what would kill me. I've heard its something like 30+ dollars for a 5lb block of cheddar that we have for 15 bucks at costco.
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Old 08-18-2011, 08:09 PM   #17
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Yeah give or take a few $.
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Old 08-18-2011, 08:10 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
:facepalm:

You guys are completely missing the point.

THERE IS NO TAX ON MILK.

I deliberately distorted the facts, cited an old and misleading article as evidence, and used diversion and misrepresentation to make it SEEM as though the truth of the matter was different from reality.

It was supposed to be a joke- a wry criticism of the way that arguments commonly are put forth around here- and yet some folks are lapping it up, if you'll excuse the deliberate lame pun.
"My mind is made up; don't confuse me with facts!"
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Old 08-18-2011, 08:11 PM   #19
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Then again everything is cheaper down here. Especially since your dollar has gone up. We're like Canada's mexico haha.
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Old 08-18-2011, 08:15 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by wayne_curr View Post
We're like Canada's mexico haha.
Except we don't kidnap and murder Canadian tourists.
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