In the summer of 2003, shoppers in Southern California began getting a break on the price of milk.
A maverick dairyman named Hein Hettinga started bottling his own milk and selling it for as much as 20 cents a gallon less than the competition, exercising his right to work outside the rigid system that has controlled U.S. milk production for almost 70 years. Soon the effects were rippling through the state, helping to hold down retail prices at supermarkets and warehouse stores.
That was when a coalition of giant milk companies and dairies, along with their congressional allies, decided to crush Hettinga's initiative. For three years, the milk lobby spent millions of dollars on lobbying and campaign contributions and made deals with lawmakers, including incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.).
Last March, Congress passed a law reshaping the Western milk market and essentially ending Hettinga's experiment -- all without a single congressional hearing.
This story epitomizes all that is wrong with the "democracy" racket:
- Byzantine laws (from the Depression era!) regulating trade in the 21st century global economy? Check!
- Lobbyists exercising power and influence to protect inefficient cartels from competition? Check!
- Consumers forced to pay higher prices thanks to unethical machinations in DC? Check!
- Free market innovations crushed by politics? Check!
Real harm has been inflicted on Hein Hettinga, whose hard work and service to consumers has been punished by the state. Real harm has been done to everyone forced by this parasitic partnership to pay more for milk than what a truly free market would produce.
These state interventions in the marketplace punish resourcefulness, reward greed and corruption, and impoverish society. That's pretty fucking evil, don't you think?
[Link courtesy of reddit]
• 15-farm empire bucks industry [Arizona Daily Star]
• Hein Hettinga/Sarah Farms Official Site [keepmilkpriceslow.org]