“So I decided I didn’t want to give my forty-seven percent to them; I wanted to keep them and sell them for myself.”
Thus spake Marvin Horne (no relation), a raisin farmer and, since 2002, a raisin resistor.
In 2002, the government came for forty-seven percent of Marvin’s raisin crop. According to Marketing Order 989, he was supposed to deliver it all to them, then make up for his investment in the entire crop with what he could get for the remaining fifty-three percent (after paying taxes, of course). WaPo reports:
“The national raisin reserve might sound like a fever dream of the Pillsbury Doughboy. But it is a real thing — a 64-year-old program that gives the U.S. government a heavy-handed power to interfere with the supply and demand for dried grapes. It works like this: In a given year, the government may decide that farmers are growing more raisins than Americans will want to eat. That would cause supply to outstrip demand. Raisin prices would drop. And raisin farmers might go out of business. To prevent that, the government does something drastic. It takes away a percentage of every farmer’s raisins. Often, without paying for them. These seized raisins are put into a government-controlled “reserve” and kept off U.S. markets. In theory, that lowers the available supply of raisins and thereby increases the price for farmers’ raisin crops. Or, at least, the part of their crops that the government didn’t just take.”
Whenever I point to stuff like this as direct evidence that the Federal Government is evil, I get pushback from people who rightly point out that there are people with far less freedom and far more poverty in other countries. But I am tired of justifying my government by comparing it to Communist dictatorships and banana republics, when we could be immensely more free and prosperous without this bureausaurian parasite feeding off working people.
“Horne, a raisin farmer, has been breaking the law for 11 solid years. He now owes the U.S. government at least $650,000 in unpaid fines. And 1.2 million pounds of unpaid raisins, roughly equal to his entire harvest for four years.”
Naturally, the bureaucrats all claim they are doing Horne a favor for which he should feel grateful. The Raisin Administrative Committee, takes the raisins, sells them overseas, and uses the money for their own expenses. Whatever is left over goes to the raisin farmers.
“The committee is not very good at having money left over. ‘We generated $65,483,211. And we pretty well spent it all,’ said Gary Schulz, the committee’s president and general manager, reviewing the books for one recent year. That year, the committee spent those millions on storage fees. Overseas promotions. Administrative overhead. So what, precisely, was left for the farmers? ‘Zero,’ said Schulz. ‘They received the value of our investment.’”
This is junk economics mixed with unconstitutional government. It is pure theft matched with shameless (pick one) lies or superstitions about economics. What about consumers forced to pay higher raisin prices?
We pay taxes to employ bureaucrats to steal food so we have to pay more for what is left over.