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  • Notes from Louisiana

    Posted by ken on December 27th, 2004 (All posts by )

    For me, as for most expatriate Louisianians, the holiday season means lots of quality time with my groundcar. Satellite radio definitely makes the experience much more pleasant.

    I just got done spending a week in Louisiana for the holidays. While I was there, I ate lots of good food, spent time with friends and family, and read the paper.

    And gained some interesting insights thereby…

    Fun facts about the sugar industry:

    (From the Times of Acadiana)

    The sugar industry is a big deal in south Louisiana. Unfortunately, those damned foreigners know how to make sugar too, and if Americans were allowed to buy foreign sugar without tariffs, the sugar industry in Louisiana would go out of business. This would be the end of life as we know it.

    It is an economic fallacy that consumers would benefit in any way from cheap sugar. This is because “corporations” are free to charge today’s price for sugared food products until the end of time, regardless of any changes in the operating costs of their competitors. Also, homemade cookies, which have sugar added by the consumers themselves rather than by corporations, are a figment of your imagination.

    (Actually, I can see a mechanism for those damned corporations keeping their prices up after sugar gets cheap. They’d simply use more sugar, and quit using corn syrup as a sugar substitute, and give us a better product for the same price rather than the same product for a lower price. This was not mentioned in the article for some reason.)

    Changes in the demand for Central American sugar workers would have no impact on their wages. If changes in demand did affect their wages, it would take years to do so. This is because plantation owners and factory owners down there have lots of money.

    Jobs in the sugar mill are quite unpleasant. It is important for our childrens’ future that they grow up to take such jobs.

    Rural Louisianians would be permanently unemployed if not for the sugar industry. The article doesn’t mention the ramifications of this, such as people having to move away (that slight buzzing sound you hear is the microscopic violin I’m playing for them after spending seven hours in a groundcar getting back to Texas after the holidays) or the possibility that other businesses might have a use for ex-sugar workers. (Granted, outside businesses aren’t exactly falling all over themselves to pay taxes to or take orders from Baton Rouge, but some have been known to set up shop from time to time.)

    The Louisiana sugar industry is a “very efficient” enterprise. (You can see that for yourself if you go down there, follow the tractors bringing the cane in at 10-15 miles per hour, and drive past the visibly deteriorating mills belching huge amounts of smoke as they process the sugar very efficiently.)

    Fun facts about the New Orleans Saints

    (From The Daily Advertiser)

    The New Orleans Saints get piles of cash from the state, under an agreement with the previous Republican governor. This cash was supposed to be raised by taxing New Orleans hotels, rental cars, and other things favored by tourists to the area, but the tourism industry took a hit a few years ago. So now, taxpayers in Shreveport, most of whom are Cowboys fans, get to pay cash bribes to Tom Benson to keep him from moving his perennially losing team away from a venue more than 300 miles away.

    The current Democratic administration is determined to renegotiate this deal, wants to see the team’s books before handing over more money, and is quite willing to countenance the team’s departure. So are many of the state’s taxpayers and legislators, who might be more willing to pay to keep the team if they were to see playoff victories more often than they see snow.

    But the Saints have a positive impact on the area’s economy. According to economic studies by an economist who sometimes works for the team, if the people of New Orleans weren’t buying Saints’ tickets, they would simply set fire to that money instead. Lord knows there’s nothing else in New Orleans that’s worth spending money on. No decent restaurants, cultural attractions, festivals, nightclubs, or anything else of that nature. And the main reason tourists show up is to watch the Saints get spanked. Nothing else to see and do in New Orleans, no sirree Bob.

    Most humorous proposal for raising bribe money: the state should tax Saints ticket sales, and give the money to the team. Yes, that was a real proposal.

     

    One Response to “Notes from Louisiana”

    1. John Powers Says:

      “It is an economic fallacy that consumers would b
      benefit in any way from cheap sugar.”

      One may want to suggest to the 9,000 workers at laid off at Brachs Candy factory in Chicago that there is no benefit to eliminating sugar tariffs.

      The fallacy is that corporations are creatures that are not deserving of the sympathy deeded to Louisianans.

      JBP