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    sitting in high cotton
    Posted under politics (my fav. vice) by tom on Tuesday December 30 2003 @ 05:48PM PST
    Arguably the single biggest waste of taxpayer money is farm subsidies. These subsidies enumerated in the much discussed "farm bill" amount to ~100 Billion dollars.

    Recently The Economist has reported that one portion of this - 3 billion dollars in cotton subsidies over which the US is unwilling to negotiate - has caused the breakdown of WTO talks. (For the record, European countries who also subsidizes cotton, were also to blame).

    The 3 billion dollar subsidy amounts to 120,000 dollars for each of the 25,000 Americans who grow cotton.

    These 25,000 people are taking $10 per man woman and child in the USA to split up among themselves. This is not including subsidized water that allows these farmers to grow this water intensive1 crop in, for example, dry climates in Arizona and California.

    I want my $10 back. And, for that matter, the other $320 being given to farming corporations .

    Now, Don't get me wrong, I can see how awful it would be if farmers in Africa were able to cash in on a competitive advantage and escape from a life of miserable poverty

    And I can see how terrible it would be if 3rd world farmers could make money on crops other than coca and poppies ( Coca and poppies, being grown in the US by non-corporate entities, do not get the subsidies they need to squash foreign competition )

    But it just seems that $330 per person is a bit too high a price to pay.

    1) it takes 257 gallons of water to grow a T-shirt according to this Economist review.

    For more info on cotton subsidies and their impact on foreign countries, you can read this 37 page pdf file.

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