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Farm-Subsidy Follies



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The Washington Post has a front-page story today on Brazil’s success as an agricultural exporter. It’s presented as a threat to the United States, which is dumb but reflects the beggar-thy-neighbor world view of most corporate lobbyists. (That shapes their views on immigration, too, causing them to favor the importation of third-world farmworkers instead of third-world farm products.)

Anyway, this bit on the fallout from a Brazilian legal challenge to U.S. cotton subsidies would be hilarious if it weren’t so pathetic (my emphasis):

As the result of a 2009 WTO ruling, Brazil now receives about $17 million in monthly payments from U.S. taxpayers — money being used to advance the Brazilian cotton industry with research on best practices, pest management and other issues. The Obama administration agreed to the payments as an alternative to either curbing government support for U.S. cotton growers or having Brazil slap import taxes on American goods to compensate for the loss to its farmers.

Now, I’m opposed to the WTO in principle, because we should have bilateral treaties of amity and commerce with other sovereign nations rather than create supranational authorities of any kind, in any area of activity. But what may be even crazier is that when our cotton subsidies are successfully challenged at a one-worlder institution like the WTO, we don’t take that as a political opportunity to get rid of them, telling the growers, “Hey, it’s out of our hands.” Instead, we fleece our taxpayers even more and send the money to foreigners. Unbelievable.



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