Dreaming of a Bastiatian Orange
The regional planning commission in my area recently released "the region’s first Regional Food Assessment and Plan." The executive summary is 20 pages worth of the joys of central planning.
The regional planning commission believes that more food must be grown and eaten locally. Now local is not defined as the US. Nor is it defined as the Midwest. It's not even defined as the 88 counties that make up the state of Ohio. No, local is defined as the 12 counties within -- you guessed it -- the region of the regional planning commission. Talk about micro-mercantilism.
The recommended solutions include such nonsense as encouraging indoor fish farms and longer growing seasons (global warming, anyone?). Oh, and lots of government support and force -- such as efforts to "persuade retailers and restaurateurs ... to ensure shelf space for local produce."
The local media is all over this. They are excited beyond belief. I imagine them locking hands with the folks over at the commission while dancing and singing, "We're going to central plan, We're going to central plan."
As Bastiat wrote in his Sophisms, "By means of this duty, they say, the conditions of production will be equalized; and the Chamber, giving effect, as it always does, to such reasoning, inserts in the tariff a duty of elevenpence upon every foreign orange."
If this nonsense goes forward, Ohio will do just what Bastiat argued against some 150 years ago. Of course, central Ohio will not impose a tariff, just a tax. Regardless, taxpayers will be supporting centrally-planned waste.
Who ever said we get smarter by the generation