In 2014 the United States congress agreed to pay a lump sum of $300 million to Brazil (with the aim of helping Brazilian farmers become more competitive) in order to maintain its huge financial subsidies to U.S. cotton growers. A huge payoff increase over previous years.
Between 1995 and 2012, the total volume of U.S. subsidies to U.S. cotton growers approached $33 billion… But the subsidies are not because we need the full volume of cotton for Made in the USA clothing. Today, the United States exports 61 percent of the cotton it grows, supplying 30 percent of world cotton exports (at below international market prices) thus punishing all other countrie’s cotton production prices.
Despite international pressure, the powerful U.S. cotton lobby managed to keep the U.S. cotton growing industry’s subsidies intact. Most of these U.S. subsidies payments benefit rich cotton farms in Arizona, California, Mississippi, and Texas. Three-quarters of the payments go to the top ten percent of producers, whereas smaller growers see few advantages. But rather than reconsider its policy at home, the government has chosen to pay fines abroad.
Interestingly…scaling back domestic protectionism (payoff subsidies to top ten U.S. growers)—an option that would save federal funds while boosting the competitiveness of U.S. producers—never emerged as a realistic policy alternative (even though a number of U.S. congressmen advocated for it).
Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) was among the first to blast the outcome. “It’s shameful — but not surprising — that taxpayers are being shaken down for $300 million because Congress didn’t have the backbone to end these wasteful subsidies,” Flake, a long-time and vocal critic of the U.S. deal to pay cash to Brazil to avoid the country’s retaliation, said. “As I see it, this payoff is just trading one boondoggle for another.” (as reported on Politico.)
(Information condensed from Council on Foreign Relations article)
All this matters greatly to Casualmere® as we make shirts from all bamboo which is taxed 32% when imported to the U.S. Bamboo shirts are good for both the U.S. economy and the environment.
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