Tag: Agriculture
TSA, the $1,022.95 Pocketknife, and Why Your Flight is Delayed

A rancher* friend of ours—fancying himself a free man, self-sufficient, and disinclined to outsiders’ meddling—was stopped in airport security not too long ago, caught carrying a fancy pocketknife: the Mini Leatherman at right, in fact, a handy all-in-one tool just right for a working man. Not taking kindly to the suggestion that he give…
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Sequestration Math

The media are bombarding us with stories of how sequestration, with its “drastic cuts” in government spending, will affect our lives. Marketplace ran one yesterday about the USDA and the potential loss of federal meat inspectors. Don’t worry, we were told, the authorities won’t allow tainted meat on the shelves! But they might inspect…
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Legal Challenge to Federal Agriculture Policy

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a challenge to the 75-year-old Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act, one of the few pieces of New Deal legislation to survive to the present day. The AMAA authorizes the US Department of Agriculture to establish and enforce “marketing orders” for particular agricultural commodities, detailed federal regulations that…
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The Wretched Nationalization of School Lunch

Don’t you love how all political debates seem to center around two false alternatives? The Obama administration’s school lunch guidelines, codified in a 2010 law and spearheaded by the First Lady, have prompted many students, teachers, parents, and conservative opponents of the regime to protest the smaller portions. Kids complain that they are hungry…
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Water and Markets Flow Together in Aquanomics

Water shortages and poor water quality are looming threats in many developing countries. By contrast, water supplies and water quality have increased in much of the United States due to a specific policy innovation: water markets and market-like exchanges. The growing participation of wildlife agencies and conservationists in water markets and exchanges is especially…
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Lessons from the Expropriation of YPF-Repsol

Argentine president Cristina Kirchner recently caused an international uproar with her decision to expropriate 51 percent of YPF, Argentina´s main oil and gas producer, and a major affiliate of Spain´s Repsol, one of the world´s great energy concerns. As has so often been the case with Latin American nationalizations, the move was accompanied by…
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The World’s First Paleo-Libertarians

Are human beings better suited for individualism or collectivism? The question seems highly relevant to issues of political economy, but it’s one that very few advocates of individual liberty have sought to answer by looking at the anthropological record. This neglect is unfortunate, economist Thomas Mayor suggests, because the evidence indicates that for millennia…
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Solving the Federal Land Problem

For most of its history, the U.S. government maintained a policy of transferring acquired lands to private owners and to the states. This changed around the turn of the 20th century, however, as the Progressives preached the “gospel of efficiency,” a doctrine that hailed the scientific management of natural resources by enlightened public servants….
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Take or Pay at the EPA

A story by Matthew Wald in the New York Times on January 9th demonstrates the poverty of governmental attempts to pick “winners” in the realm of green technologies, the wasteful subsidy programs supporting that policy goal and the huge costs for the private sector of being unable to march to Washington’s tune. Among its…
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Internet Taxes

The following updates a column published in the Utah Statesman on September 14, 2011: Proposals to allow the collection of taxes from consumers making purchases online are like vampires or zombies. They apparently cannot be killed unless stakes are driven through their hearts or their heads are blown off. I don’t know how to…
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