Author: Government Ruining California Raisin Business

Tuesday, 27 May 2014 12:10 PM

By Lisa Degnen

  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the U.S. Department of Agriculture could take 47 percent of a farmer's harvest according to an antiquated law, as long as the government aims to drive up crop prices.

An opinion piece published Monday in The Wall Street Journal says that California raisin growers Marvin and Lena Horne have been fighting the unfair USDA regulation for almost a decade.

The federally authorized Raisin Administrative Committee was developed in the 1930s to allegedly stabilize markets and prevent gluts. Author James Bovard writes in the Journal that the couple were fined almost $700,000 for refusing to turn over their 47 percent to the government in 2002 and then another 30 percent of their crop in 2003. Their attempt to fight the ruling eventually landed before the Supreme Court.

Bovard reports that during oral arguments, Justice Stephen Breyer said: "I can't believe that Congress wanted the taxpayers to pay for a program that's going to mean they have to pay higher prices as consumers." And Justice Elena Kagan stated that this might be "the world's most outdated law."

But the Ninth Circuit panel looked at a 1943 Supreme Court ruling justifying regimenting raisin farmers because the industry became "compelled to sell at less than parity prices," Bovard writes.

That index was "concocted by government agricultural economists in the 1920s to justify federal aid to farmers. 'Parity' was based on a set ratio of farm prices to non-farm prices, in correlation with the ratio that prevailed in 1910-14, a boom time for farmers. Because production costs for both farm and non-farm goods radically changed, it never made any economic sense to rely on 'parity,' but it was a popular political ploy," he argues.

Bovard, author of "Attention Deficit Democracy" and other books, says that these days many California farmers have shifted their land to other crops because of the restrictions and raisin production is rapidly decreasing in the state.

"The Ninth Circuit effectively declared that a taking is not a taking if the government intends to benefit the victim, regardless of how much damage the government inflicts," he says. "The judges played down the Hornes' losses because they only involved 'personal property' — not 'real property' such as land. This is a slippery distinction that at least one other federal appeals court has utterly rejected. The decision stressed that the 'Hornes did not lose all economically valuable use of their personal property,' presumably since the feds did not take all their raisins."

All of the raisins grown in the United States are produced within a 60-mile radius of Fresno, California, and total more that 350,000 tons every year.

Related Stories:

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Diplomats Owe NYC $16M in Unpaid Parking Tickets

Tuesday, 23 Sep 2014 07:38 AM

New York City is owed over $16 million in unpaid parking tickets issued to foreign diplomatic vehicles.The Department of . . .

Henry Paulson: Climate Change Biggest Risk to Economy

Tuesday, 23 Sep 2014 07:14 AM

Former treasury secretary Henry Paulson said that the single biggest risk that exists to the economy today is climate  . . .

Judge Orders Extra Voting Help for Alaska Natives

Monday, 22 Sep 2014 20:37 PM

A federal judge on Monday ordered the state to take additional steps to provide voting materials to Alaska Native voters . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved