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Spilt Milk: Inefficient Milk Producers Fight the Free Market

Written by Gary North on April 1, 2015

For over 200 years, inefficient farmers in Europe have battled the free market, which favors efficient farmers.

Meanwhile, inefficient American farmers have for 80 years demanded price supports from Congress to deal with efficient American farmers.

Farmers are the bulwarks of government bailouts and subsidies.

On April 1, the European Union ended import quotas on milk. Milk farmers have staged protests against this infringement on protectionism for life. The thought of competition outrages them.

For thirty years, they have been protected by quotas. It is clear to them that European families deserve to pay more for milk. It is their birthright to pay more for milk. And not the politicians have removed the birthright. The shame!

Dairy farmers sprayed thousands of litres of fresh milk at the European Parliament in Brussels on Monday in protest at what they say are excessive milk quotas and prices below the cost of production.

Hundreds of farmers and tractors from across Europe took up position in a park near the European Commission and a square in front of the parliament in the early afternoon, after blocking traffic along several of Brussels’ busiest streets.

They then turned their hoses on parliament, a collection of vast marble, glass and steel buildings on a Brussels square, and unleashed torrents of milk, some of it raining down on police and passers-by.

Afterwards they set alight barrels of hay and a pile of tyres, sending plumes of black smoke billowing into the sky. They plan to stay put outside parliament until Tuesday afternoon.

The European Milk Board, which coordinated the two-day protest, said prices with current quotas were putting small farmers out of business.

Agriculture in Europe is a gigantic bailout. The European Union’s government spends 40% of its budget on subsidizing farmers.

This is mercantilism. Adam Smith refuted it in 1776, but Europe’s farmers have never accepted Smith’s economics. It is not in their self-interest to believe Smith. They prefer people with badges and guns to keep competition away from consumers of food.

Europe’s urban voters have never had enough political muscle to overcome this tiny minority of the voters — farmers. So, people in the cities pay farmers not to produce, so that city dwellers can get to pay for for their food.

This is the politics of special interests that want to steal from the majority. It is the only politics there is. It is all done in the name of majority rule.

Continue Reading on www.reuters.com

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