However, there have always been a few poor, ostracized souls in Congress who refuse to grab a ladle for the farm subsidy gravy train, but they're pretty darn rare, and they end up taking a lot of heat on Capitol Hill and the campaign trail. (Indeed, when they run for President, they end up getting pummeled like longtime subsidy-hater John McCain did in the all-important Iowa caucus and elsewhere in the Midwest). So when a group of Republicans and Democrats join together to scream a chorus of "STOP THE INSANITY" on US farm subsidies, they deserve kudos and support. Thursday was one of those times, as Congressmen Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Ron Kind (D-WI), Paul Ryan (R-WI), and Barney Frank (D-MA) sent a letter to President Obama, asking him to finally resolve the US-Brazil dispute over WTO-illegal American cotton subsidies by reforming the offending farm programs (something I've been advocating for months now) rather than what the White House is currently doing - i.e., keeping the trade-distorting programs in tact,
The letter from the Congressmen - affectionately referred to by Cato's Sallie James as the "Four Congressmen of the Cotton Subsidy Apocalypse"- highlights the patent absurdity of the current US action in the cotton dispute. Just how absurd you ask? Well, absurd enough to get super-conservative Paul Ryan and ultra-liberal Barney Frank to team up to stop the policy. The letter is available here in a PDF, and I've also pasted it below as an image because I think it deserves as much circulation as possible. It also deserves ample public praise, so kudos, Congressmen. Nice job. And who knows, maybe the ridiculous US-Brazil dispute will end up being the breaking point for a few more your House and Senate colleagues, pushing them to finally wise up and call for a dramatic reform of America's truly stupid (and dirty!) agricultural policies.
(Although I'm not holding my breath.)