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What’s It All About?

March 18th, 2003 · No Comments

Amid all the war news, non-D.C. residents may have missed the story of a farmer who drove a tractor into the pond on the Mall, clogging traffic and creating a standoff with police. (He claims to have explosives.) So far it’s a mystery precisely what’s going on, according to the Post. Well, it shouldn’t be a mystery if you can use Google.

The farmer in question, Dwight Watson, grows tobacco. And he’s been quoted in various news stories criticizing the government’s policy towards folks in his trade. In particular, he’s been critical of laws preventing farmers from changing nicotine levels in tobacco.

Yesterday, the New York Times reported that the Justice Department is launching a massive lawsuit against the tobacco industry for manipulation of nicotine levels. The article goes on to say:

A financial analyst who covers the tobacco industry said that if the Justice Department were to win anything approaching the $289 billion figure, cigarette makers would, at the very least, have to consider raising their prices by about 50 cents a pack.

Even then, the analyst said, “their survival would be problematic.”

Case closed? Very possibly.

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