Friday, October 3, 2008
Egg and Tomato Oligopoly
"A Justice Department official confirmed that it had opened investigations into tomatoes and eggs. Federal agencies already are pursuing criminal or civil inquiries in markets including fertilizer, cheese and milk, examining whether suppliers worked in league to manipulate prices. ... Higher food prices have become a hot issue in the presidential campaign and a rising source of anxiety in the global economy. ... 'When big guys get bigger, it makes collusion easier,' said Peter Carstensen, a University of Wisconsin law professor who testified in Congress on competition in the food induistry. ... In the tomato-industry probe, a federal grand jury in Sacramento, Calif., had issued subpoeneas, and [FBI] agents are interviewing executives of big California tomato processors, lawyers close to the case said. The officials are trying to determine if dominant processors of tomatoes for canning, ketchup, salsa and sauces conspired to fix prices, these people said. ... In an unrelated probe, the three largest U.S. egg processors also have received grand-jury subpoenas. The criminal investgation is focused on the pricing and marketing of egg products, such as liquid and powdered eggs, lawyers and industry executives said", John Wilke at the WSJ, 23 September 2008.
I have a better idea Mike Mukasey. If you must indict someone over high food prices, why not Helicopter, now Zimbabwe Ben? If you want to see potential collusion, look at the CPA industry. The DOJ and I live in alternative universes. Why does the DOJ bother with this? To divert attention from the probes it should conduct of Wall Street machinations?