Cotton Picking Subsidies


Those out-of-control free-market fanatics in the Bush administration fight the World Trade Organization in defense of subsidies to cotton farmers. As the Washington Times reports:

The WTO in September largely backed a charge by Brazil that U.S. payments to cotton farmers skew competition, lower global cotton prices and essentially rob Brazilian farmers of income.
Brazil expected the appeal. The country maintains that U.S. cotton producers received $12.47 billion in subsidies from August 1999 to July 2003, spurring overproduction and lowering world prices by almost 13 percent.
The South American nation, a rising agricultural powerhouse, also has won a WTO case against European Union sugar subsidies as part of an assault on rich countries' farm subsidies. The European Union is appealing.
The world's wealthiest countries combined paid $257 billion in support to their farmers in 2003, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said. The 25-nation European Union doled out the most at $121.4 billion, followed by the United States at $38.9 billion.
U.S. cotton subsidies reached $3.31 billion in 2002, the last year included in Brazil's case, and then declined to $2.89 billion in 2003 and an estimated $1.66 billion for 2004, according to U.S. Farm Service Agency data.