Sacred Cow

The idea behind the dairy price supports authorized by the Agricultural Act of 1949 was simple: provide the nation with an adequate supply of milk by guaranteeing a fair price for farmers. So how did such wholesome intentions wind up costing taxpayers billions of dollars to store cheese in caves?

Under the 1949 act, the Federal Government agreed to buy up dairy products that could not be sold on the open market. The price was tied to parity, a complicated index of earnings and farm costs designed to ensure that the price of milk gave farmers roughly the same purchasing power...

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