How the Supreme Court just quietly rolled back a key element of the New Deal

The court's interference in the U.S. raisin market is a big deal. Really.

Raisins
(Image credit: Tish Wells/ZUMA Press/Corbis)

During the Great Depression, one of the worst problems was that of agricultural overproduction. Farmers, walloped by falling prices and sales, would desperately plant more crops in an effort to recoup their losses, thereby flooding the market and pushing prices down further.

It's hard to imagine now how devastating that was to the American social fabric. Today, farmers make up only about 1 percent of the American workforce — but in 1930, it was 20 times that figure. The 1920s had already been hard on farmers, and millions were utterly ruined by the Depression and the Dust Bowl, forced to migrate in search of work or even bare sustenance.

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