AGRICULTURE: Another Helping

In the Department of Agriculture's granary of unfortunate experiments, no case is more spectacular than the 1948-50 effort to support the price of potatoes. The Government bought surplus potatoes for about $1.50 a hundredweight, dyed them deep blue, then sold them back to the producers at 1¢ a hundredweight for fertilizer or livestock feed. Net loss: $478 million. Net result: Congress passed a law prohibiting potato price supports.

But a Congressman's memory of the last fiasco is not always so clear as his vision of the next election. In January, after potato prices had slumped about...

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