You can't subsidize common sense. It has to be earned the hard way.
Republican Congressman Jeff Flake, who represents Arizona’s Sixth District, along with Democratic Congressmen Ron Kind of Wisconsin and Barney Frank of Massachusetts and Republican Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, sent a letter to President Obama urging him to resolve the U.S.-Brazil trade dispute by reforming U.S. agricultural subsidies, instead of making annual payments to Brazil.
A recent ruling by the World Trade Organization in a long-standing trade dispute between the U.S. and Brazil over U.S. cotton programs authorized Brazil to impose more than $800 million worth of tariff increases and cross-retaliation measures. In lieu of the $800 million in punitive penalties, the United States Department of Agriculture and the United States Trade Representative offered Brazil an annual payment of $147.3 million.
As John Thacker, in a comment at Hit & Run points out, this is the government's dilemma and solution:
- 1. The government wants to subsidize American cotton farmers at the expense of taxpayers, to keep cotton artificially competitive.
- 2. Brazil, whose cotton is actually competitive (meaning cheap), complains this is illegal.
- 3. Therefore, the government will also subsidize Brazilian cotton farmers.
Thacker's analysis, while spot on, leaves out two important steps.
- 4. ?????
- 5. Profit!
This scheme is so cotton-picking insane that it has united near opposites, Congressmen Jeff Flake, Paul Ryan, Ron Kind, and Barney Frank, against it. All that these men have in common is a modicum of intelligence and horse sense, something our government seems unable to produce for itself by any tax, stimulus, or regulation.