Monday, October 28, 2013

Water Subsidies and Shortages in the American West

Mises Daily:  October 28, 2013 by Ryan McMaken

The Los Angeles Times reports that the West is running out of water. Articles about water shortages are a perennial feature of local newspaper coverage in the American West, but the Los Angeles Times is right. The West really doesn’t have enough water to maintain the status quo. ……suburban and urban residents use only a fraction of the water consumed in the West.  To find a clue about the real source of the problem, we need only look to the Times article itself:…….. Naturally, the fact that taxpayers pay for all this does not mean that the taxpayers control the water. The most important resource in the West is in fact mostly controlled by Congress and the Bureau of Reclamation, and indirectly by growers and other special interests. Water is distributed in the West not by markets and market prices, but by the political process…….No private firm would distribute a precious commodity like water in a desert in the way that the Bureau of Reclamation has done it. While the subsidized farms in the West are private, the federal government owns the main input that is needed for their crops: water. Thus, the term “private enterprise” here is meaningless, since the farms are wards of the state…..and they indirectly control most of the water…..To Read More…..

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