Cotton subsidy update

Last week I posted this about the insane US Department of Agriculture decision to send $147M in bribes to Brazilian cotton growers. My last comment was this:

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…

Well, I must now admit that Da Mook was wrong – which happens sometimes. (story here from CATO)

Yet another show of that rare commodity, bipartisan efforts to reduce the size of government today. Four members of the House—two Republican and two Democrat—have sent a letter to President Obama, calling on him to reverse the insane policy of bribing Brazilian farmers with subsidies in an attempt to correct, in accordance with the perverse two-wrongs-make-a-right school of logic, for  illegal U.S. subsidies. (There were other questionable parts of the deal with Brazil).

Barney Frank (D, MA), Ron Kind (D, WI), Paul Ryan (R, WI) and Jeff Flake (R, AZ) make compelling arguments for finding a better and more permanent  solution to the dispute than the current (dodgy) deal with Brazil, including arguments about fiscal responsibility, the adverse effects of distorting markets in this way, and the implications for the U.S. economy of continuing to operate the cotton program in its current form.

Let’s hope that they can get some traction with this and maybe we can get some sensible Agricultural policy reform. I’m not holding my breath…


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