By Robert Cohen Executive Director Text Only

What THEY are Saying about US

Congress has passed a $190 billion subsidy act for farmers.
This year and every year hereafter, the average dairy farmer
is expected to receive a $10,000 subsidized gift from his
benevolent Uncle Sam.

Joseph Stiglitz won a Nobel Prize in Economics, and served
as a senior vice president for the World Bank, and was a key
economic advisor to the Clinton administration. Steinglitz
had this to say about the farm bill:

"The worst form of political hypocrisy. The farm program had
been originally prescribed to help poor farmers. Well, most
of the poor farmers have left farming, and now the vast
majority of the money goes to rich farmers and big
corporations That's the first moment of hypocrisy. At the
global level, we have been going around the world telling
countries that subsidies distort and lead to unfair
competition. We have lost all credibility all over the

To our north, Canadian government House leader Ralph Goodale

"There is complete consensus on the Canadian side that it is
a foul and insidious piece of legislation and that we must
fight it by every means at our disposal."

The Canadian agriculture minister, Lyle Vanclief, said:

"The farm bill is a serious blow to the US's credibility in
the current round of World Trade Organization negotiations."

Australian Prime Minister John Howard will be addressing a
joint session of Congress next week. Americans will not have
to wait until the fourth day of July for this year's
fireworks. Howard recently issued a more diplomatic

"There should be no doubt that we are very unhappy with the
Farm Bill."

Unhappy is an understatement. Warren Truss, the Australian
agricultural minister, said:

"The bill sends an appalling signal to agricultural trade
negotiators seeking a freer and fairer international trading

To our south, Brazilian Agriculture Minister Marcus Pratini
de Moraes said that his country will be urging South
American nations to form a united front against agricultural
subsidies. Brazil argues the U.S. subsidies drive prices
down for South American products, forcing a reduction in
planting in Brazil.

Jacques Diouf, director of the United Nations Food and
Agriculture Organization (FAO), said:

"American subsidies stifle the development of agriculture in
poor countries."

The European Union agriculture commissioner, Franz Fischler,
launched an angry attack on the United States for their un-
American act:

"The farm bill is a retrograde step that will bring further
market distortions and contains elements that are nothing
but concealed export subsidies and which will create serious
difficulties for developing countries."

America has changed. This socioeconomic shift in policy
sends a signal to our neighbors that the values that once
made a capitalistic America strong now take a back seat to
the needs of some people who pay millions of dollars to
lobby for favors.

America's $190 billion farm bill sends a hypocritical
message to all of the world's nations, but the message sent
to young Americans is even more appalling. We have created a
new generation in which our government donates unearned
dollars to undeserving parties.

American children will soon become the "give me" generation.
They will be asking "what's in it for me?" There was a time
when the American dream meant working for a goal. The harder
one worked, the greater was one's reward. Today's message
sadly establishes a new American doctrine.

Robert Cohen author of:   MILK A-Z
Executive Director (
Dairy Education Board

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