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Protecting Us from Monopoly by Protecting Privileged Producers from Competition

Posted By Don Boudreaux On November 27, 2012 @ 5:14 pm In Competition,Crony Capitalism,Trade | Comments Disabled

Here’s a letter to a member of the U.S. House of Representatives:

Rep. Tom Rooney (R-FL)

Dear Mr. Rooney:

Proclaiming in the Daily Caller that you oppose “government intervention in markets” immediately before you launch into pleas for government intervention in markets (in your case for sugar) does not succeed in saving you from the charge of hypocrisy (“The conservative case for sugar tariffs [1],” Nov. 26).

Even less successful on this score is the first excuse you offer for Uncle Sam’s continuing refusal to allow us Americans to import as much sugar as we wish – namely, “it’s the best line of defense we have against an OPEC-like market.”

Nonsense.

The world price of sugar today – the price charged by the alleged cartel from whom you wish to protect us – is, as it has been for some time, about half of the price of sugar in the U.S [2].  This fact reveals that the sugar producers with genuine OPEC-like monopoly power are not the ones that Uncle Sam must forcibly prevent us from patronizing (foreign growers), but, rather, American growers whose gluttonous special privileges are created by the very program that you seek to justify with your Orwellian sophistry.

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
and
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA  22030

(HT Andy Roth)

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[1] The conservative case for sugar tariffs: http://dailycaller.com/2012/11/26/a-conservative-case-for-sugar-tariffs/?print=1

[2] is, as it has been for some time, about half of the price of sugar in the U.S: http://mjperry.blogspot.com/2012/01/sugar-tariffs-cost-americans-386.html

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