The Emperor’s New Clothes: Subsidy Propaganda Stripped!

June 11, 2007

By: USA Rice Federation

Every day we see a steady stream of propaganda about U.S. farm subsidies being responsible for the myriad ills associated with world poverty.

With the farm bill on the Senate floor, we’ve seen editorials in newspapers and magazines—even church newsletters—addressed to members of Congress, declaring that farmers be stripped of the safety net we know is indispensable for the production of a safe, wholesome and affordable food supply for all Americans and many other consumers around the world.

Last week’s issue of The Economist includes a chart depicting producer support as a percentage value of farm receipts. Guess what country is near the bottom of the list. If you haven’t guessed the United States, then you’ve been taken for a ride by the propaganda of special interest groups.

As a percentage of farm receipts estimated for 2006, the subsidies of Switzerland and South Korea (both more than 60 percent), Japan (more than 50 percent) and the EU (32 percent) dwarfed those of the United States (11 percent). Iceland and Norway topped the list.

In real terms, South Korea’s outlays were $25.4 billion; Japan, $40.7 billion; the EU, $138 billion, vs. $29.3 billion for the United States.