Democrats on the Hill are nakedly pushing the Department of Agriculture to take steps doubling the price of milk in a bid to ease passage of a new Farm Bill. Rep. Collin Peterson, Ranking Member on the House Agriculture Committee, has admitted to the press that he called the Ag Department and asked them to implement an arcane 1949 law that would cause a huge spike in the price of milk. Apparently, we need a new, flawed, government law to preempt on old, flawed, government law.
Congress has yet to reauthorize a Farm Bill, a complicated series of subsidies and tax breaks that effect every aspect of America’s agriculture sector. Most of the controversy in finalizing a Farm Bill has to do with the Food Stamp program, which has grown exponentially under President Obama and represents around 85% of the spending in the Farm Bill.
In light of the uncertainty, Rep. Peterson is pressing the government to enforce an antiquated dairy law. “My suggestion to the secretary is that they should start now putting the framework together to implement the permanent law on dairy Jan. 1,” Peterson told The Hill on Wednesday. “And it sounds to me like they’re going to take a very serious look at that.”
The “permanent law” Peterson references is a 1949 law that requires the federal government to manipulate the market for dairy products to ensure that prices stay at $39 per 100 pounds of milk. Yeah, I don’t really understand that either. I do know, however, that the potential federal action would cause the price of milk to double to around $6 a gallon. And I know that Democrats are pushing for this as leverage to pass a Farm Bill.
How about this? Let’s not have a Farm Bill and let’s not have a 1949 “permanent law” and see what happens. Would milk be $6 a gallon? Perhaps, but I doubt it. If it did spike that high, demand would adjust accordingly and the price would fall. Imagine if there were a 1949 law ordering the federal government to support the price of shoes? ROFL wouldn’t cover our reaction to such silliness.
So, Peterson and the Democrats want to use these antiquated laws to push the adoption on new, soon to be antiquated, laws. Can we just call the whole thing off?