Re: Everybody Loves Unrelated Stats

…and it’s not the fault of all the Europeans. The Brits and others were keen in recent subsidy talks to scrap much of the program (even the Economist deemed their multilaterally negotiated proposals to be “substantial reform”). And who kept the subsidy regime in place?

One guess…

Yep…

France.

And who gets screwed? Besides the grocery-buying and tax-paying public (actually, to be fair, poor urban mobs eating state subsidized food do a bit better with ag supports in place; like in a Third World country, this is probably a concern in France), it’s non-EU producers, of course, mostly situated in developing or former communist countries.

But American consumers also took a knock when Chirac drove the negotiations off track (remember that Chirac is a former ag minister; by all accounts, what happened falls squarely on his shoulders). How’s that? Since he got into office, GWB has been looking to negotiate a bilateral deal with Europe to phase out subsidies. The looming EU expansion set the stage for this in Europe, and a preliminary move by the EU (even something more symbolic than significant) could have been just the thing to spark some action over here as it would have disarmed much of the farm lobby’s resistance. Well, maybe next year (fat chance: cut farm subsidies in an election year?!).