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Raisin Farmers Have Rights

This looks like a crock, and I hope these people win their case:

In this case, the USDA imposed on the Hornes a “marketing order” demanding that they turn over 47% of their crop without compensation.  The order—a much-criticized New Deal relic—forces raisin “handlers” to reserve a certain percentage of their crop “for the account” of the government-backed Raisin Administrative Committee, enabling the government to control the supply and price of raisins on the market.  The RAC then either sells the raisins or simply gives them away to noncompetitive markets—such as federal agencies, charities, and foreign governments—with the proceeds going toward the RAC’s administration costs.

Their case is currently before the US Supreme Court on the grounds that this constitutes a taking, and therefore is in violation of the 5th Amendment. I can’t see how it isn’t so. Then again, I thought “public use” was pretty clear too.

I don’t understand why more people don’t get worked up over this stuff. To me this is an outrage. Everyone ought to think it’s an outrage. Is it that there are just too many outrages these days? Too many people think you can’t fight city hall? Do people on the left really agree with this kind of nonsense?

9 Responses to “Raisin Farmers Have Rights”

  1. Nathaniel says:

    I used to be one of them, so I can tell you what they think about it: they view it as a necessary evil. In their minds, what’s objectionable might be perhaps the sum of the penalty, or the fact that there’s too much red tape surrounding compliance or appeals, but they don’t disagree with the notion of market participants being subject to this kind of heavy-handed regulatory oversight, no matter how specific the regulation may be nor how absurd its application may see on its face.

    When we get outraged by the very idea of this kind of regulatory regime existing in the first place, they become defensive because they view it as critical to the functioning of society, even if this example is absurd. This is because they see government and society as two sides of the same coin, rather than our more antagonistic view which casts government as the predator and society as its prey.

  2. Scott says:

    Wickard v. Filburn from the 1942 basically said the government has the right to do this kind of shit because of the interstate commerce clause. For those of that don’t know, this has had to do with a wheat farmer who kept a little for himself instead of making all of his crop available at market. The govt stepped in and he lost. This really broadened the commerce clause and I think in a bad way, but its been upheld.

    Not say this was the right decision, just saying it is the current “law of the land”

    • Patrick H says:

      True, but that was a case dealing with the commerce clause. I don’t believe it involved the 5th Amendment like this one (though its been awhile since I took my ConLaw class).

      • Scott says:

        Its been a couple of years for me as well, but I still see correlations here and can see an argument to be made in favor of the govt…

      • McThag says:

        Don’t forget this is from the FDR “I’ll pack the court” era.

  3. Divemedic says:

    The reason more people are not outraged at this is because they are secretly hoping to be the person that receives someone else’s raisins. As long as they are taking raisins from that other guy and leaving mine alone, who cares? After all, that guy has more raisins than he knows what to do with, anyway.

    Why should 1% of the population have 90% of the raisins?

  4. Andy B. says:

    “I don’t understand why more people don’t get worked up over this stuff. . .”

    First they came for the raisin growers. . .

  5. Felix says:

    The government claims it’s not a taking because nothing has been taken yet. The farmers will have to pay the fine, ask for it back, and then claim it’s a taking.

  6. Joe Huffman says:

    It’s simple. All property belongs to everyone. Therefore it is nonsensical to speak of personal or private property. The government is just distributing it in a fair and just way.

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