We Conservatives rightly and righteously loathe our every five-year renewal of the Farm Bill. It is a Franklin Delano Roosevelt-New Deal relic, filled to the rim with more protectionism than anyone not getting government checks could possibly stomach.
We just in February renewed this anti-free market folly. So we’re again mired in this mess. We thus need to spend the intervening years working to undermine the tenets of this legislative absurdity.
Since we’re locked down domestically, the way to do that is internationally. Because what was in the 1930s merely a domestic policy disaster has become – with the explosion of a global market for all things – an international omni-pockmarked heinousness.
Protectionism begets protectionism. Subsidies and tariffs are matched – and exceeded – by subsidies and tariffs. Lather, rinse, repeat. So let’s tear down these walls, shall we?
Except we’re running into some foreign obstinance.
Mr. Obama had hoped to use his visit here to announce an agreement under which Japan would open its markets in rice, beef, poultry and pork, a critical step toward the trade pact.
But Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was not able to overcome entrenched resistance from Japan’s farmers in time for the president’s visit.
Reminiscent of the right, righteous complaints we Conservatives have long had about our domestic Big Crops. Because they have been terribly successful at protecting really terrible policy.
Take Big Corn – please. Which has for decades protected an ethanol program – that requires more energy to produce ethanol than we would use if we just used petroleum.
But we continued the inanity because it was supposed to be oh-so-much-better for our Big Blue Marble. Except….
Which leads anyone – whose thinking isn’t warped by Big Government Crony Socialism – to this inexorable conclusion.
Yet Big Corn and its omni-directional protectionism remains. A Crony Colossus astride us still.
There is one Big Crop that has decided to stand down on protecting its protectionism – Sugar. So long as other countries – like, say, Japan – stand down on theirs. Which makes sense – unilateral disarmament is hardly ever a good idea.
And farm policy.
Killing just our farm programs made much more sense when it was just us eating what we grew. That has long since stopped being the case. Now, if we just kill our programs, the uber-subsidized global market will kill our farms and jack up our prices.
The European Union (EU) with sugar tried such self-negotiation. It didn’t end well.
(T)he European Union, which supplied as much as 20 percent of global (sugar) exports in the 1990s, shifted from a net exporter to a net importer following sugar policy reforms in 2005.
Their reforms? Unilateral tear-down of their trade barriers – which sounds good. Except it allowed Big Sugar Subsidy Brazil to flood their market – and wipe out nearly all domestic production.
And now the EU is paying about 25% more for sugar.
So it would be inordinately nice if all of our Big Crops would get off the schneid, and work to make a better global market for their products – and everyone here who has the audacity to eat.
Rather than continue to circle the wagons around a ridiculous and ridiculously antiquated domestic Crony Socialist protectionism nightmare mess.
Editor’s Note: This first appeared in the PJ Tatler.