RALEIGH – Next time you hear a congressman or senator pontificate about the plight of the poor, check to see whether they support one of the most noxious and regressive ideas in recent memory: the creation of new regional or national price-support programs for dairy farmers.
Sen. Jim Jeffords supposedly cited his quest for a new milk compact for the Northeast as a main reason he left the GOP and delivered the U.S. Senate to the Democrats earlier this year. Others who sport reputations as “progressive” also tout the idea of raising the minimum price for milk through state or national fiat. That this is nothing more than hiking prices on consumers – which, for poor families, might literally mean taking milk out of the mouths of babes – is a fact they try to downplay or demagogue.
Here are some unintentionally hilarious quotes from supporters of a proposal now moving through Congress to set higher minimum prices for milk (thanks to Investor’s Business Daily)
• Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont: “It helps farmers, it helps consumers, and it costs the taxpayer nothing.”
• Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa and chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee: “It is fair to taxpayers to keep a lot of dairy farmers in business all over the country.”
• Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Connecticut and veep candidate in 2000: “We have fewer dairy farmers in Connecticut [than ever], but they are an important part of our history. They need a little help.”
Congress’s original legislation legalizing milk price-fixing, passed in 1937, said the measure would help to maintain “orderly marketing conditions.” That’s like calling a bank robbery an attempt to maintain “orderly deposit conditions.”