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Books by and about 2020 presidential candidates
Crippled America,
by Donald J. Trump (2015)
Fire and Fury,
by Michael Wolff (2018)
Trump Revealed,
by Michael Kranish and Marc Fisher (2016)
The Making of Donald Trump,
by David Cay Johnston (2016)
Promise Me, Dad ,
by Joe Biden (2017)
The Book of Joe ,
by Jeff Wilser (2019; biography of Joe Biden)
The Truths We Hold,
by Kamala Harris (2019)
Smart on Crime,
by Kamala Harris (2010)
Guide to Political Revolution,
by Bernie Sanders (2017)
Where We Go From Here,
by Bernie Sanders (2018)
Our Revolution,
by Bernie Sanders (2016)
This Fight Is Our Fight,
by Elizabeth Warren (2017)
by Cory Booker (2016)
Conscience of a Conservative,
by Jeff Flake (2017)
Two Paths,
by Gov. John Kasich (2017)
Every Other Monday,
by Rep. John Kasich (2010)
Courage is Contagious,
by John Kasich (1998)
Shortest Way Home,
by Pete Buttigieg (2019)
by Michelle Obama (2018)
Higher Loyalty,
by James Comey (2018)
The Making of Donald Trump,
by David Cay Johnston (2017)
Higher Loyalty ,
by James Comey (2018)
Trump vs. Hillary On The Issues ,
by Jesse Gordon (2016)
Outsider in the White House,
by Bernie Sanders (2015)

Book Reviews

(from Amazon.com)

(click a book cover for a review or other books by or about the presidency from Amazon.com)

Milk Money
Cash, Cows, and the Death of the American Dairy Farm

by Kirk Kardashian (Introduction by Bernie Sanders)

(Click for Amazon book review)

    Click on a participant to pop-up their full list of quotations
    from Intro to Milk Money, by Bernie Sanders (number of quotes indicated):
  • Bernie Sanders (8)
  • Patrick Leahy (3)
    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
    Bernie Sanders: Dairy price fluctuations help no one but speculators.
    Patrick Leahy: Address breakdown in competition on dairy farms.
    Bernie Sanders: Investigate huge dairy processors for anti-trust violations.
    Bernie Sanders: Launch anti-trust investigation of Dean Foods.
    Bernie Sanders: Sophisticated equipment transformed farms to overproduction.
    Bernie Sanders: Very large farms raise questions about animal cruelty.
    Patrick Leahy: Include Lake Champlain in Great Lakes ecology funding.
Government Reform
    Bernie Sanders: Best dairy policy is USDA board's supply management.
    Bernie Sanders: Immigrant labor should be treated as valuable, but are not.
    Bernie Sanders: Include dairy in H2A visas (temporary agricultural workers).
    Patrick Leahy: Include dairy in H2A visas (temporary agricultural workers).

The above quotations are from Milk Money
Cash, Cows, and the Death of the American Dairy Farm

by Kirk Kardashian (Introduction by Bernie Sanders)

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by Jesse Gordon and OnTheIssues.org
Reprinting by permission only.

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Page last edited: Dec 20, 2019