Via the Coyote Blog.
If you’re not deeply concerned, you’re not paying attention. And yet each day you can see countless Tweets and FB posts proclaiming that our woes are due to living in some kind of libertarian free-market utopia.
Raisin Farmers Have Constitutional Rights Too – Cato @ Liberty: No longer do farmers enjoy the ancient right to sell their produce and enjoy the fruits of their labor. Indeed, Horne v. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture exemplifies the extent to which all property and business owners are made to suffer a needless, Rube Goldberg-style litigation process to vindicate their constitutional rights.
In this case, the USDA imposed on the Hornes a “marketing order” demanding that they turn over 47% of their crop without compensation. The order—a much-criticized New Deal relic—forces raisin “handlers” to reserve a certain percentage of their crop “for the account” of the government-backed Raisin Administrative Committee, enabling the government to control the supply and price of raisins on the market. The RAC then either sells the raisins or simply gives them away to noncompetitive markets—such as federal agencies, charities, and foreign governments—with the proceeds going toward the RAC’s administration costs.