Thursday, May 15, 2008

The greedy American farm lobby

Ignoring a veto threat from President Bush, who says he wants to sharply limit government subsidies to farmers at a time of near-record commodity prices and soaring global demand for grain, the House on Wednesday approved a five-year, $307 billion farm bill with a solid bipartisan majority. (NYT)

This represents just one more turn of the screw by the rich world against farm producers in the third world.   With record prices for grains, this was the year to cut subsidies to American farmers.  "A historic opportunity to end this country's most wasteful and economically ruinous corporate welfare system has been lost" laments the LA Times.  Bush was right to threaten to veto any farm bill that did not cut US farm subsidies -- much of which goes to large agricultural conglomerates.   With record food prices, US farmers don't need subsidies.  The LA Times writes:

Farm subsidies have survived for this long by holding the good hostage to the bad. The run-up in food prices, in some cases worsened by our agricultural policies, created a chance to break out of this rut. So did a growing awareness of the economic damage wrought by subsidies, which destroy livelihoods of farmers overseas who can't compete with government-backed American grain.

US agricultural subsidies -- including subsidies to the corn biofuel industry -- directly contribute to malnutrition in the developing world. 

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