Got Milk? Not At This Price . . .

There is an interesting dispute in Maine where the state has demanded that Shaw’s Supermarket end a milk giveaway promotion as violative of state law protecting intra-state dairies.

Tim Drake, executive director of the Maine Milk Commission, informed the store that its promotion of getting a seventh gallon of milk free with the purchase of six gallons, is “against the milk commission’s rules and statutes.”

However, I have some question concerning the constitutionality of a state rule that prevents stores from giving away food or charging too little. It could be argued that the state price control is, you must forgive me, utterly unconstitutional. In the state’s favor, this would be subject to a rational basis test that is generally easy for the state to satisfy. New York, for example, retains rent control rules despite the criticism of many economists. However, rental units are generally not coming from other states and forced to comply with such protective laws.

Notably, the store emailed Drake to get permission for the promotion and Drake forwarded the request to the Attorney General’s Office, which appears to have given a take of advisory opinion. After Drake then went on vacation, he heard from Shaw’s competitors objecting to the successful promotion and charging that it is illegal. The state sets a minimum price for milk.

Source: Press Herald

Jonathan Turley

12 thoughts on “Got Milk? Not At This Price . . .”

  1. Buddha,

    As much as I’d love to take credit for that universal truth, it comes from my wise father in law.

  2. Buddha:

    “It’s the lobbyists and corporatists abusing the tool that creates the purposeful malfunctions that are destroying the country.”

    we agree on this point but differ on who is to blame. I say government because it has favors to grant. If there are no favors there is no need for offering value in exchange.

    When government can declare large import duties on sugar to protect American sugar producers don’t you think American sugar producers are going to try and buy votes? If our government was devoted to free trade sugar producers would not be able to buy favors.

  3. Byron,

    Here is a perfect example of the problem not being size.

    Key Federal Regulator Took Gifts From Oil Company, Misused Travel Funds, Investigation Shows

    “The investigation says former Farmington BLM district manager Steve Henke (heen-KEY’) took gifts from Williams Exploration and Production – golf tickets, lodging and meals – and solicited donations for his son’s youth baseball teams.

    Henke retired in May to become head of the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association. He says no regulatory favors were exchanged with the industry.

    I say bullshit on the no favors exhanged.

  4. HenMan,

    Take my pun, please!

    Or as another poster recently said here, “The only bad pun is the one you didn’t think of first.”

  5. Byron,

    A government or a corporation is simply a tool. While complexity can breed error it doesn’t necessarily breed error. For a task at hand, any given tool must have the required components to get the job done.

    In government, the problem isn’t the size of the tool that creates the malfunctions.

    It’s the lobbyists and corporatists abusing the tool that creates the purposeful malfunctions that are destroying the country.

    It’s a case of coincidental error (a function of size) versus purposeful error (a function of misuse of the tool/corruption for personal gain).

  6. Buddha:

    Size matters, a large government is not functional. A large corporation is less efficient as well.

    Something happens when you get too big, for one thing the executive loses touch and the various departments start operating as independent duchies with little or no oversight. There must be some sort of a study on organizational size vs. efficiency/functionality.

    There must be an optimal size for all organizations to function at peak efficiency.

    Anyway if government was efficient we wouldn’t need so much of it anyway.

  7. How many times do you have to hear “size is an irrelevant metric” before it sinks in, Byron?

    Functionality is the one and only valid metric for evaluating systemic performance.

  8. ST. LOUIS man fined by OSHA. Another fine example of government run amok. They hamper job creation rather than helping to create jobs.

    Big Government as worthless as tits on a boar hog. But at least you can eat the boar.

  9. Even little Johnny nows how government works, I wonder why politicians dont?

    Government intervention:

    The kids filed back into class Monday morning. They were very excited. Their weekend assignment was to sell something, then give a talk on productive salesmanship.

    Little Sally led off: “I sold girl scout cookies and I made $30,” she said proudly, “My sales approach was to appeal to the customer’s civic spirit and I credit that approach for my obvious success.”

    “Very good,” said the teacher.

    Little Jenny was next:

    “I sold magazines,” she said, “I made $45 and I explained to everyone that magazines would keep them up on current events.”

    “Very good, Jenny,” said the teacher..

    Eventually, it was Little Johnny’s turn.

    The teacher held her breath …

    Little Johnny walked to the front of the classroom and dumped a box full of cash on the teacher’s desk.
    “$2,467,” he said.

    “$2,467!” cried the teacher, “What in the world were you selling”

    “Toothbrushes,” said Little Johnny.

    “Toothbrushes?” echoed the teacher. “How could you possibly sell enough tooth brushes to make that much money?”

    “I found the busiest corner in town,” said Little Johnny, “I set up a Dip & Chip stand, I gave everybody who walked by a free sample. They all said the same thing, ‘Hey, this tastes like dog shit!’”

    Then I would say, “It is dog shit. Wanna buy a toothbrush?”

    “I used the governmental approach of giving you something shitty that they say is good, and then making you pay to get the shitty taste out of your mouth.”

  10. Prof. Turley–“utterly unconstitutional”–I would add to your awful pun, but I wouldn’t want to be accused of milking it.

  11. What about a pre paid fuel card that gives you a discount on gasoline. The state is losing revenue because they are losing 3 to 10 cents per gallon. Are these types of cards legal there? Murphy’s oil is at all of the Wall-Marts.

    Protection of states interest. I agree that this will not pass the Rational Basis test. Credit Card/Pre-Paid Companys’ have too much to lose….

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