Politicians say they will support "family farms" ... and why not? It sounds heart-warming. In practice, of course, there are always unintended consequences -- and I covered a few of these consequences in my latest Fox News special, Politicians' Top 10 Promises Gone Wrong (airs again on Fox Business next weekend -- on New Years' Eve, Friday Dec 31st at 11pm ET and Sunday, January 2nd at 10pm ET).
In this week's syndicated column, I explain how tax breaks have led to a boom in alpaca breeding. Twenty-five years ago, there were 150 alpacas in America. Now, there are 150,000:
Rose Mogerman raises alpacas in New Jersey, the most densely populated state. "I fell in love with them," she said.
But she fell in love with the tax break first.
"Yes. I have to be honest," she said. "I might have had two. I wouldn't have had 100. ... I was looking for a tax shelter."
The Alpaca Breeders Association asked its members, on a scale of 1 to 10, what motivated them to get into alpaca breeding. More than half rated "tax benefits" a 10.
... Economists at the University of California, Davis warn that the industry is in a speculative bubble. "Alpacas sold today as breeding stock have values wildly in excess of even the most optimistic scenarios based upon current fiber prices and production costs," Tina L. Saitone and Richard J. Sexton write.
"(C)urrent prices are not supportable by economic fundamentals and, thus, are not sustainable," the UC Davis economists write. Their paper was originally published in the Review of Agricultural Economics in 2007 with the great title "Alpaca Lies? Speculative Bubbles in Agriculture."
Full column here.
This Week's Show -- July 10, 2014
CENSORSHIP AT CBS: Investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson has a similar story. She explains why she left CBS after it became "harder and harder to get stories on television" that criticized this government and "any powers that be."
IS STOSSEL BIASED?: Years ago, journalist Howard Kurtz criticized me for not being objective. I said it's impossible for any journalist to be completely objective. Now that Howard Kurtz is on Fox, we debate again.
THE OBJECTIVITY MYTH: Andrew Kirell of Mediaite.com says, "every journalist has a point of view and they don't just magically check it the minute they walk in the newsroom door."
NEW MEDIA: Reason TV's Remy Munasifi uses music videos and parodies to complain about things like politicians' spending. One of his latest parodies highlights the scandal surrounding the VA hospitals. Munasifi discusses his videos, which have gone viral on YouTube.
RETRO REPORT: It's great there's a new media organization called Retro Report, which reveals media hype of the past ("crack babies," America's landfill "crisis," the "superpredator," etc.) and corrects stories everyone in the media got wrong. I discuss the new show with its executive producer, Kyra Darnton.
REAL OR FAKE?: Sometimes people in the media say things that are so bizarre, you'd think they were made up. Kennedy of The Independents quizzes FoxBusiness.com's Kate Rogers, Fox Business host Charles Payne and me to see if any of us can tell which quotes are real, and which were made up by my staff.
MY TAKE: I used to report on lots of scares. CBS even ran an ad for me where someone called me a "guardian angel."
That's bunk. The only guardian angel is a free and open society. That's what allows innovation, gives people longer lives, and lifts billions out of poverty. But these gradual improvements aren't newsworthy. Scares and disaster make the news.
News is broken not just because we're biased but because most good and important news happens slowly.
9PM ET on Fox Business Network