Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND)
World Trade Online reports  that, “after meeting with a group of growers last month,” you have asked “the U.S. International Trade Commission to study the impact of imports of Canadian potatoes on U.S. potato growers.” I’ve some questions for you.
– Do you doubt that such a study will find that competition from Canadian potato growers puts downward pressure on the prices that American potato growers charge?
– Do you believe that competition from Canadian potato growers which obliges American potato growers to keep their prices as low as possible is a wrong visited on American potato growers? If so, do you believe also that competition from some American potato growers which obliges other American potato growers to keep their prices as low as possible is a wrong visited on American potato growers?
– Will you also ask the ITC to study the impact of imports of Canadian potatoes on U.S. potato consumers, including American potato-chip makers such as Frito-Lay, Utz, and Zapp’s? If not, why not? Do you perhaps believe that Americans who eat potatoes deserve to have the state pick their pockets in order to artificially enrich Americans who grow potatoes? If so, why? And if not, why have you called for this study?
– Finally, don’t you feel at least a tiny twinge of self-disgust at using the immense power of your office to pimp for American potato growers at the expense of American potato buyers?
Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030