Sunday, October 05, 2008

Farm Subsidies Gone Wild: Cows in Europe Earn More Per Day ($2.20) Than 1.2 Billion Poor People

1. Primary farm producers in the world's developed countries receive about $280 billion a year in government support. In the European Union, farmers receive a third of their income from government subsidies. Beef and veal producers get more than 70% of their income from subsidies. A typical cow in the European Union receives a government subsidy of $2.20 a day. The cow earns more than 1.2 billion of the world's poorest people.

~Mark Vaile, Australian trade minister in 2005

2. The developed world funnels nearly $1 billion a day in subsidies to its farmers, encouraging overproduction. That drives down prices and leaves farmers in poor nations unable to compete with subsidized products, even within their own countries. In recent years, American farmers have dumped cotton and other products on world markets at prices that do not begin to cover their cost of production. Europe's system is even worse; the United States' farm subsidies are only a third of Europe's. A cow in France shouldn't make more than a farmer in Burkina Faso. That is just shameful.

~NY Times editorial "Cow Politics" in 2005

3. In 2006, expenditures on the Common Agricultural Policy (farm subsidies) were €49.8 billion, compared to €48.5 billion in 2005. This represents 47% (the largest component) of the EU's expenditures in 2006, up from 46% in 2005.

~Financial Management in the European Union

And just in case, 47% seems high, it's actually "low" compared to the past. Until 1992, farm subsidies represented nearly 61% of the EU's budget. Reminds me of the joke:

Q. How do you starve a European farmer?

A. Weld his mailbox shut.


At 10/05/2008 4:41 PM, Blogger juandos said...

Well now I see the obvious solution...

Let's face facts, the bovine beasts are much more useful than "poor people"...

None the less if "poor people" a change in status it behooves them to sneak into Europe and stand around on someone's farm and munch cattle feed...

At 10/05/2008 9:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where does this Subsidie come from? Tax I assume.

So if you took away all the subsidies,a portion of the farmers would go out of business.

So you would lose tax revenue from those farmers, support them on welfare if needed. Etc.

So which equation works out better, the current one or no subside?

At 10/06/2008 2:15 AM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> So you would lose tax revenue from those farmers, support them on welfare if needed. Etc.

Do you actually not grasp ANY aspect of how capitalism works?

NONE of ANY kind??


Are you a congenital idiot? Because I really, really have a hard time grasping any other excuse for such a complete and utter failure of how it works.

Further, are you attempting to argue, somehow, that taxes and tax receipts from FARMS and FARM INCOME consitute even a double-digit FRACTION of tax revenues for a modern post-industrial state?

1) Most modern "farmers", in the USA, have annual incomes in EXCESS of 100,000 and more, on top of the value of the land assets which they own. I will lay odds that the same is probably also true of Europe.

2) "Small farms" don't work any more, the profit margins on farming are inadequate to allow the capital set-asides necessary to make it through tough times, as drought, crop blights, and other natural disasters which affect one's income for a year or more. Larger farms can diversify their income to deal with such problems. Hence, large farms have become the norm -- probably this is true in Europe, too.

3) If you gradually reduce farm subsidies, it will give those who are ill-equipped to actually make money from FARMING to give up the activity and go get a job doing something they ARE competent at. Hell, if they don't want to sell the land, they can easily rent it out to an individual or company which will give them part of the assets created in rent.

4) I will virtually guarantee you that, even in the USA, with its notably lower subsidies, that the amount of tax revenue generated by any farm is well below the subsidies paid out. And, with price supports, the people who can least afford to pay -- the poor -- are forced to pay a much larger share of their income to people making 100k or more a year...


Much like Social Security, which essentially taxes poor black men to pay for thee retirements of wealthy white women, it's ass-backwards from anything that qualifies as "fair".

P.S. --

> A cow in France shouldn't make more than a farmer in Burkina Faso. That is just shameful.

Really? The cow has a significant, even critical, part in the manufacture of what are inarguably some of the finest cheeses in the world. What, of note, is the BF farmer creating?

Not to support the subsidy notion, but it's not shameful that the cow makes more than the farmer, either. The cow has a notable part in the creation of substantial wealth. The farmer is not thus encumbered.


Post a Comment

<< Home