There was no shortage of comments on my last post, but there is one that I can clear the air about quickly.

Jeff comments

You write, “Does industry likewise have a right to create and have enforced by the state contracts which restrict supply and raise prices.” Are you honestly unaware that this happens? Have you never heard of the sugar tariffs that the federal government has had in place for decades? Do you believe they exist because of teachers’ unions in Wisconsin? Are you really unfamiliar with the pipeline between business organizations and lobbies and the legislation that gets passed in Washington and state capitals across the country? Maybe you guys are, since you and Adam complain about unions and such all the time (more Adam than you, in fairness), and yet I have no recollection of a posting decrying the negative, distorting influence of the Chamber of commerce.

My apologies for giving the impression that I was ok with agricultural restrictions. Opposition to these are practically de rigor among economics bloggers and I may not have done enough to make my position clear.

Agricultural tariffs are a disgrace, not only because they distort the market and raise prices on lower income Americans, but also because it makes it harder for Third World farmers to sell their crops abroad.

Though to be fair, this is what the Chamber said on sugar tariffs

The existing U.S. sugar program already represents a chronically flawed policy that creates and maintains an artificial gap between U.S. and world sugar prices. And now, rather than seizing the opportunity to fix this policy, Congress is poised to pass a Farm Bill that makes it much worse.

Both the House and Senate versions of the proposed Farm Bill increase, rather than reduce, price supports. And worse, the bill continues sugar marketing allotments, ostensibly to balance supplies, while simultaneously guaranteeing U.S. sugar growers an 85% share of the domestic sugar market.

Nonetheless there are points where the Chamber and I are sharply at odds. Their continued support for employer provided health insurance and the continuance of the health insurance tax exemption are among them.

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