Stockton University near Atlantic City, New Jersey proudly announced the fourth year of its maple syrup program.
Since 2021, two Stockton professors have spent roughly $137,000 per year to have their students produce maple syrup from trees near the campus. In 2021, the students made 11 gallons of syrup at a cost of $12,455 per gallon. Last year, they doubled that production. They made 22 gallons at a cost of only $6,227 per gallon.
Click Here For Link To Vineland Daily Journal Article Of April 8, 2021: https://stockton.edu/news/2022/maple-syrup-project-expands.html
The project was paid for with a $410,000 three year grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2021. The purpose of that grant was to determine if “red maple trees, which are abundant in New Jersey, can produce enough sap to generate a cottage industry in the state. Stockton just received a second $500,000 grant to bring the total project cost to $910,000.
The answer, of course, is an obvious “No”! Producing syrup from maple trees is inefficient at best. In northern states with cooler climates, it takes roughly 44 gallons of tree sap to produce one gallon of syrup.
In 2021, Stockton students reported that they collected 1,000 gallons of sap from about 90 maple trees. They then boiled that sap down to produce 11 gallons of maple syrup. They needed 91 gallons of sap to produce one gallon of syrup!
This year, they announced that they collected 730 gallons of sap to produce seven to 10 gallons of syrup.
The professors complained that South Jersey did not have enough days with freezing temperatures to produce sap best suited to make maple syrup. The seven states with established maple syrup industries all have colder climates than South Jersey. They are New Hampshire, New York, Michigan, Maine, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Wisconsin. New Hampshire has the highest cost of production at $52.2 per gallon. Wisconsin has the lowest production cost at $31.4 per gallon.
It is obvious that the $410,000 grant paid for nothing more than three years of an expensive hobby for two professors, their students and some rural neighbors with maple trees.
Yet last week, Stockton announced that it had just received an additional $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It is continuing the project for another three years at a cost of $167,000 per year.
If the students at Stockton’s business school studied the college’s maple syrup project, they would agree that it makes absolutely no economic sense. However, if Stockton’s had its history and political science students read this book by Vilfredo Pareto, they would see that is a perfect example of “political economy”.
In 1909, Pareto described this theory in his book Manual of Political Economy first published in French by Pareto in 1909:
Suppose that in a country of thirty million people, someone proposes a new law that would tax each citizen one dollar a year, and give that money to 30 selected families. Every year, each of the thirty million taxpayers would lose one dollar, while 30 selected families would each gain a million. The two groups would react very differently to this proposal.
The 30 families who would become millionaires would not rest by day or night. They would pay newspapers to support the new law, and drum up support from all quarters. They would give money to “friendly” politicians.
On the other hand, the thirty million other citizens would be much less active. A great deal of money is needed for an election campaign. It is impossible to collect a few cents from millions of taxpayers. A few people would have to make substantial contributions. But who would pay more money to stop a corrupt law, than he would pay if the law were passed?
When election day comes, similar difficulties arise. The 30 would-be millionaires would put campaign workers in every district to persuade voters that their modest plan is not only good and necessary, but patriotic as well! If necessary, they would lay out cash to get the votes needed. . .
In contrast, the voter who would lose only one dollar a year – even if he knows what is happening – would not bother to give up a picnic in the country, annoy useful or congenial friends, or get on the wrong side of government officials. The outcome is never in doubt. The 30 families who would get the $30 million dollars would win hands down!”
In 1909, Pareto’s Manual of Political Economy predicted that the European democracies would soon collapse from unsustainable corruption. For years, our Constitution and traditions of limited government kept that from happening in America.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which is paying Stockton $910,000 for six years of this program is another example of Political Economy. It was created by President Abraham Lincoln and Congress in 1862.
Its original purpose was to guarantee that America had enough food during and after the Civil War. It did this by dividing government owned farmland in 160 acres parcels. It then gave that land as “homesteads” to settlers willing to farm it for at least five years. Some 1.2 million settlers received those homestead and became prosperous, independent farmers. Many were freed Black slaves from the South. When the government ran out of land to give away, the U.S. Department of Agriculture was no longer needed. It should have been disbanded.
However, that government agency is now bigger and more expensive than ever. It now has a yearly budget of $261 billion. Roughly 70% pays for “Nutrition Assistance” formerly known as food stamps. It also spends billions to “fight climate” change, promote “equity” and give provide home mortgages.
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