During the Great Depression, the government decided that prices paid to farmers were too low and undertook to correct the problem by limiting their output. Though that was an understandable response to the worst economic crisis in our history—not sound, but understandable—it has long outlasted the calamity that gave rise to it.
Today, the United States Department of Agriculture still assumes the task of deciding how many raisins should be sold—a job that in most markets is handled by consumers and producers continually responding to supply and demand. Steve Chapman explains the case of Marvin and Laura Horne, raisin farmers whose fight against these archaic farm controls was heard by the Supreme Court this week.
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