Brazilian cotton growers get $147M from US taxpayers

If there was ever a poster child for government reform, it would have to be the US Dept. of Agriculture. From its humble beginning under President Lincoln when the US was a largely agrarian economy, the USDA has grown into a bureaucratic behemoth. (story here) It regulates everything from what and where farmers can grow to the amount of methane passed in cow farts. It subsidizes farms to grow certain crops and to not grow any crops. It keeps the price of certain products (like sugar) artificially high for US consumers by buying up huge amounts at high prices, then dumping it on foreign markets at lower prices – killing the local farmers and causing trade disputes. In other words the USDA is a typical government bureaucracy – bloated and bumbling.

According to this article (from Time Magazine), the USDA is now sending $147M of your money to Brazilian cotton growers:

What could be more outrageous than the hefty subsidies the U.S. government lavishes on rich American cotton farmers?

How about the hefty subsidies the U.S. government is about to start lavishing on rich Brazilian cotton farmers?

If that sounds implausible or insane, well, welcome to U.S. agricultural policy, where the implausible and the insane are the routine. Our perplexing $147.3 million–a-year handout to Brazilian agribusiness, part of a last-minute deal to head off an arcane trade dispute, barely even qualified as news; on Tuesday, April 6, it was buried in the 11th paragraph of this Reuters story. (The New York Times gave it 10th-paragraph play.) If you’re perplexed, here’s the short explanation: We’re shoveling our taxpayer dollars to Brazilian farmers to make sure we can keep shoveling our taxpayer dollars to American farmers – which is, after all, the overriding purpose of U.S. agricultural policy. Basically, we’re paying off foreigners to let us maintain our ludicrous status quo.

Don’t look to congress to revamp our odious agriculture policy – they’ve had a hand in crafting it and, to satisfy the powerful farm lobbies, will continue to increase funding for this boondoggle. This crap sandwich has “bipartisan” support…


2 Responses to “Brazilian cotton growers get $147M from US taxpayers”

  1. […] I suppose it stands to some kind of reason that if the US Dept. of Agriculture is going to subsidize Brazillian cotton farmers to the tune of $147M, they can also give subsidies to millionaires and dead farmers too. After all, […]

  2. […] subsidy update Last week I posted this about the insane US Department of Agriculture decision to send $147M in bribes to Brazilian cotton […]

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