The US Department of Agriculture [USDA] constantly promotes cartels, higher prices for food, and restrictions on entry into the production of many crops. Their policies tend to hurt the poor more and help rich agri-businesses.
Raisins appear to be a good example. [via RalphK]
Last week the Supreme Court announced it would revisit the important case of Horne v. USDA. The case... centers on a USDA program that forces those who traffic in raisins (“handlers,” in USDA raisin parlance) to turn over cash or a significant part of their crop—sometimes almost fifty percent—to the USDA without compensation.
In Horne, the eponymous family, which markets raisins, sued the USDA to force the agency to compensate them if the USDA forced them (along with raisin handlers around the country) to turn over cash or almost half their raisin crop to the agency in return for the purported privilege of handling raisins. ...As the Ninth Circuit puts it, the Hornes argue the USDA “works a constitutional taking by depriving raisin producers of their personal property, the diverted raisins, without just compensation."
That’s exactly what the USDA’s raisin marketing program does.
I'm sure there's more to it. But this surface appraisal of the case should be enough to raise eyebrows about what the USDA is doing, under guise of protecting consumers and entrenched interests, to maintain barriers to entry into raisin production and to keep prices high for nutritious snacks.