Letter to the Editor

Meddling boosts milk prices

Sunday, September 27, 2009

U.S. dairy farmers are at a critical point. Record low wholesale milk prices have caused farmers to burn through their cash on hand, and most have borrowed to the full extent of their credit lines. In the next six months, we will see hundreds of cow dairies fail. Why is it that a 2 percent change in consumption of fluid milk caused a 50 percent drop in mailbox prices to our farmers? Meanwhile, milk processors are posting record profits.

The simple answer is monopolies. Through exploitation of the co-op laws, the U.S. government allowed mergers and buyouts of milk processors. Now there is an effective monopoly controlling milk markets. This is not a failure of free markets. This is a failure of government meddling.

After hundreds more dairy farmers go bankrupt, the next thing that will happen is record high milk prices, probably $6- to $7-per-gallon milk in 2010.

The financial crisis of last year was created the same way. Substitute the Federal Reserve, the Treasury, the SEC, Goldman Sachs and private banks and draw the same parallels: a government-created crisis with government regulation as the proposed solution.

"Too big to fail" is the rallying cry to save chosen corporations. The commonsense answer is more companies competing on a level playing field with less regulation. More competition will make a healthy economy.

To support free-market economic policies, visit www.campaignforliberty.com.

PAUL HAMBY, Maysville, Mo.