Mary Katharine Ham

He said the company's pricing policy post-freeze was "to minimize the increase in price while at the same time recognizing that if we kept the price too low, we would quickly run out of oranges and have shortages of everything from creamsicles to orange-scented Pledge. Orange Julius would be out of business. Do you want that? It's a tough balancing act."

Senators shot back, saying they were facing pressure from orange-craving constituents to figure out who was “rigging” the prices.

“The orange companies' witnesses owe the company an explanation, and they owe it to us as those who represent the people,'' said Sen. Pete Domenici (R.—N.M.). “I expect the witnesses to answer whether you think your current profits are excessive and to talk about what they intend to do with the reserves and the profit accumulations that they have.''

“The price is set on the world market by willing buyers and sellers, as to what willing sellers are willing to sell oranges for and willing buyers are willing to pay for them,'' the Minute Maid CEO explained.

The President is expected to address this hot issue in his State of the Union speech Tuesday. According to a high-ranking administration official, Bush will admit that “America is addicted to oranges,” and suggest millions in new funding to develop “cleaner, cheaper, and more reliable alternative orange sources.”

Mary Katharine Ham

Mary Katharine Ham is editor-at-large of, a contributor to Townhall Magazine.

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