How US Sugar Subsidies Bring a Red Tide of Algae to Florida’s Shores, by Mark Thornton

Fertilizer runoff from sugar farms nourishes algae and is in part responsible for red tide algae blooms. The sugar farms wouldn’t be there but for sugar subsidies and tariffs. From Mark Thornton at mises.org:

ABC News reports that “Toxic red tide blooms are creeping up Florida’s west coast, killing marine life and irritating humans.” The red (or maroonish) tide is truly a nasty problem that I have experienced first-hand in the form of a ruined vacation.

It is a potentially toxic algae to wildlife when it occurs in high concentrations. The Karenia brevis algae can be a threat to fish, birds, and even manatee. At least 92 manatees have been killed so far and at least one whale shark! This creates conditions at the beach of discolored water, dead fish, and a horrible smell. Tourists are adversely affected as well as local businesses.

The algae are a natural phenomenon that has been known of for almost two centuries. However, the harmful “blooms” have occurred much more often and in more places in recent decades. More recently, it has been plaguing southwest Florida beaches since November 2017 and is now particularly bad over a larger area.

I was recently attacked on Facebook for explaining all the benefits we would receive if we reduced the number of regulators and their budgets, i.e., fewer unnecessary regulatory restrictions on businesses and resource owners, less spending and taxes, more resources in the productive economy, and more entrepreneurship to name the primary ones.

My “friend” wrote that if we reduced the number of regulators, who would protect him from all the various perceived evils, including the red tide at the Florida coast. I replied to him, in part, that we pay for over 100,000 regulators for financial markets and they did not protect us from the financial crisis, that BP’s deep-water oil rigs are extremely highly regulated (in fact they would not be drilling in deep water at all if not for regulations!), and in fact, EPA rules and regulators are there to protect the interests of polluters and to block citizens from protecting themselves in court. That was the end of the conversation.

To continue reading: How US Sugar Subsidies Bring a Red Tide of Algae to Florida’s Shores

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