Books by and about 2016 presidential candidates|
| Hard Choices,|
by Hillary Clinton (2014)
| Crippled America ,|
by Donald J. Trump (2015)
| Trump vs. Hillary On The Issues ,|
by Jesse Gordon (2016)
| Outsider in the White House,|
by Bernie Sanders (2015)
| American Dreams,|
by Marco Rubio (2015)
| Taking a Stand,|
by Rand Paul (2015)
by Scott Walker (2013)
| A Time for Truth,|
by Ted Cruz (2015)
| One Nation,|
by Ben Carson (2014)
| Trump/Pence vs. Clinton/Kaine On the Issues ,|
by Jesse Gordon (2016)
| Living History ,|
by Hillary Rodham Clinton (2003)
| Between Hope and History ,|
by Bill Clinton (1996)
| In Harmís Way ,|
by Dr. Jill Stein (2000)
| Democrat vs. Republican vs. Green vs. Libertarian,|
Four Party's Presidential Nominees On The Issues (2016)
Books by and about 2012 presidential candidates|
| Ten Letters
about Pres. Barack Obama (2011)
| Do Not Ask What Good We Do
about Rep. Paul Ryan (2012)
(click a book cover for a review or other books by or about the presidency from Amazon.com)
Cash, Cows, and the Death of the American Dairy Farm
by Kirk Kardashian (Introduction by Bernie Sanders)
(Click for Amazon book review)
Click here for 8 full quotes from Bernie Sanders in the book Intro to Milk Money, by Bernie Sanders.
Click here for 3 full quotes from Patrick Leahy in the book Intro to Milk Money, by Bernie Sanders.
OR click on an issue category below for a subset.
BOOK REVIEW by OnTheIssues.org:
Bernie Sanders describes himself as a "democratic socialist," a term which the mainstream media repeats often, but fails to explain. So we'll use the policy underlying "Milk Money" to illustrate a democratic socialist policy that Bernie supports. The dairy industry is a major contributor to the Vermont economy (think of "Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream," based in Vermont), and Sanders has been involved with this issue for many years.
The United States does not have a free market for milk. The dairy industry is heavily regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, according to a byzantine set of rules that began in the 1930s:
- The federal government sets a floor price for milk, and if the market price goes below that floor, dairy farmers receive a monthly check from the USDA to offset the difference.
- The USDA enforces the floor price via "Federal milk marketing orders" (FMMOs), which sets different floor prices for fluid milk, cheese, ice cream, butter, and so on.
- The price for milk is determined by a formula based on the price of raw milk in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and the distance from Eau Claire (plus numerous other factors).
- To account for regional price differences, FMMOs also look at local prices: for the Northeast region (including Sanders' Vermont), the floor price is called the "Boston Class I Price."
- For the period from 2002 to 2013, the federal subsidy checks to dairy farmers totaled about $3.3 billion.
Congress regularly tinkers with this program, such as in the very large 1996 Farm Bill, and more recently, a 2013 Congressional effort to change the monthly USDA checks to an insurance program instead of subsidy checks. But the purpose of the program is to federally control milk prices rather than let the free market do so -- that's an example of "democratic socialism." Citing Bernie Sanders' opinions in the context of the federal milk program:
- Consumers: In the Great Depression, consumers benefited from stable milk prices for a basic dietary necessity. But those prices should be regulated on the supplier end, not on the consumer end: "The best policy is to develop a system of supply management...thereby stabilizing prices" (p. viii).
- Producers: The real beneficiaries of milk price controls are dairy farmers: the purpose of the milk regulatory system is to protect small farmers from the disruption of price swings: "if we can manage supply so that it is never too high or too low, huge price swings should disappear, and our family farmers will live with security" (p. ix).
- Speculators: In the absence of price controls, the middlemen and financiers would benefit: "huge fluctuations [in milk prices] help no one but speculatorsónot consumers, not dairy-based businesses, not tractor salesmen" (p. viii).
- Animal Rights: Protecting small farms benefits the environment as well as the animals involved: On small dairy farms, "cows were cared for almost as if they were part of the farmerís family. But very large farms... can raise questions about animal cruelty" (p. x).
- Monopoly: The dairy industry would move toward ever-larger farms, displacing small family farms, in the absence of price controls: "There is something very wrong when large processors reap large profits, and family farmers can barely survive" (p. xi).
The federal milk program isn't quite socialism -- under a fully socialist system, the government would set the price charged at supermarkets, and would set the production rate on each farm. Instead, this program controls prices and production indirectly, through price guarantees and subsidies -- that's "democratic socialism." Bernie Sanders often defends his political philosophy of "democratic socialism" but American voters usually don't realize that many "democratic socialist" programs, like the federal milk program, have long been in place!
-- Jesse Gordon, jesse@OnTheIssues.org, November 2015
| OnTheIssues.org excerpts: (click on issues for details)
Budget & Economy|
Dairy price fluctuations help no one but speculators.
Address breakdown in competition on dairy farms.