Maine wants to make milk more expensive
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A hattip to Charlie Arlinghaus, who pointed out an article in the Portland Press Herald on of the most short-sighted examples of bureaucratic meddling, this time in Maine. It seems that Shaw’s wanted to entice repeat customers with free milk, but the nanny-state busy bodies in Augusta decided that Maine consumers aren’t paying enough.
The state has asked Shaw’s Supermarkets to end a new milk giveaway promotion, saying it violates Maine law.
Shaw’s, which initially had permission to run the program, immediately complied.
“On Monday, I asked them to discontinue it,” said Tim Drake, executive director of the Maine Milk Commission. “It’s against the milk commission’s rules and statutes.”
The industry’s supporters say Mainers should understand what’s behind the action.
On one hand, such supermarket promotions encourage people to drink more milk. But when milk is sold below the cost of production, it eventually drives more dairies out of business.
The issue isn’t whether dairy farms operate or go out of business. It’s which dairy farms operate or go out of business. And because the nostalgic image of New England dairy farmers tugs out our heartstrings, politicians go out of their way to protect high cost farms. Their competitors can roll out fresh, healthy milk at lower prices, but out of state farmers don’t get to vote in Maine. And Maine voters will barely notice the slightly higher prices. So we get ill-conceived protectionist schemes to shelter a small, but politically powerful, lobby from the consequences of improved productivity. And that leads to one of the most regressive taxes possible.
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