Nosemonkey's EUtopia

In search of a European identity

Farm subsidies

OK, maybe I was being a tad harsh… Via Andrew and Tim Worstall, President Bush offers to scrap US farm subsidies, as long as the EU scraps the CAP:

“Let’s join hands as wealthy industrialised nations and say to the world, we are going to get rid of all our agricultural subsidies together. And so the position of the US Government is, we are willing to do so, and we will do so with our fine friends in the European Union.”

Interesting… Bush knows it’ll never happen, so I reckon my earlier snide point still largely stands, but interesting nonetheless.


  1. Or this is Bush's payback to Blair for the Iraq war – Blair knows that France won't cave on the CAP due to internal EU pressure alone, but if there is sufficient international pressure maybe he can get a deal?

  2. As long as Chirac's in charge in France there'll be no cave in on the CAP. That simple.

    But Both Bush and (most probably) Blair have longer left in office than old Jaques – if they're playing a longer-term game of upping the moral pressure on the French, it's possible there may be some concessions and pay-off in 2-3 years under a new government. Just…

    That could then be the real clincher for the Bush/Blair place in history now that their previous escapades seem to be bogged down in ongoing chaos. We already know that Blair's ego's big enough to worry about how he'll be remembered – it's just possible Bush could genuinely be getting won around to the idea as well.

  3. Well, as Blair's legacy slowly crumbles, it's certainly credible that he'd grab this with both hands to try to cement his place in history as the man who ended poverty.

  4. "Hey you guys, I may not have solved any of the problems within the UK that I was elected to deal with, but look – I made some people in far off lands slightly less likely to die! Who care's if the NHS is still in the shit? Who cares that our bright ideas for making the Welfare State work better got titted up thanks to piss-poor IT? Who cares that ASBOs have done nothing to prevent anti-social behaviour and that violent crime is still on the rise? Does the fact that the trains don't run on time, that we've granted ourselves the right to lock you up any time we like, and that we've legislated to make it illegal for you to come and protest to us about it REALLY matter in the face of lots of starving children? How can you be so callous?"


  5. And we'll fall for it (well, not us specifically, but us as a country) and vote Gordon in in 2009/10.

    Welfare reforms didn't fail due to poor IT – they failed because the Labour backbenches couldn't stomach them, and Blair didn't have the guts to use his genuine first term mandate to push them through.

  6. Not that I'm being curmudgeonly, but it's very easy indeed for Bush to say that. He knows Congress will never okay scrapping juicy pork, and anyway he doesn't ever have to face election again. But, but, but…if it makes Jacques sweat just a little, hats off to him.

  7. "He knows Congress will never okay scrapping juicy pork". Fair point. Somewhat like (going WAY off-topic), a certain former president signing up to Kyoto?
    How about the white armband group pushing for the abolition of all subsidies, tariffs and protection for agriculture, manufacturing and services? Yes, hopelessly naive I know… But I'd rather buy something at the real/best price from the manufacturer who could produce the product I want at a realistic market price (wherever they may be) than pay a quid for a silicone wristband.

  8. Understand that Bush means exactly what he says… he is driven in almost all of his decisions by his own deeply held beliefs, and one of those is free trade. It does not matter that he can't get it through Congress right now, anymore than he can presently get private Social Security accounts, but he firmly believes in both. He is antagonizing a lot of his party leaders in red (read agricultural) states by his religiosity on free trade. This is not a political calculation.

    I realize that for folks that have no deeply held beliefs, that this is very hard to understand. It's like being on a different wavelength. For all of the talk about Machiavellian strategies and various conspiracy theories Bush is very easy to understand, and to predict, if you take what he says seriously. He does.

    Most Americans are not heavily involved in US politics, and understand and attach to it more by osmosis than by direct action. As I've said before on this blog, almost all Brits are absolutely clueless about US politics. The idea that you can analyze the thinking of a patrician Texan born again christian is about as rational as me trying to decipher the rationale of the politics of a coal miner in Wales.

    Since there seems to be no end to the constant drumbeat of hatred and criticism of both this country and its president, by both foreigners and political enemies in the States I fail to see exactly what the man could say or do to gain approval from these critics. I guess he would have to implement their agenda instead of his. If he does that, why do we have elections?

  9. Was that aimed at me Ronnie? Jeez, I hope not: I genuinely think the guy has done some good on the international stage. And I'm a leftie. My point is that it's not in his gift to remove farm subsidies. Blair couldn't come out with a statement like that because it is in his gift. It's empty.

    Anyway, if Bush believes so strongly in free trade, how did we get to the brink of a tit-fot-tat tariff war on steel not so long ago? Why is the weighted average of US tariffs higher than the 'protectionist' EU's, according to the Heritage?

  10. Dunno Jarndyce… you can best judge if that is aimed at you. If it does not fit it wasn't.

    Bush has been very agressive at home on free trade issues for agriculture, mainly through driving hard for regional trade agreements, even though it antagonizes much of his base. Sugar is an especially sensitive issue and he will have to accept some compromises to get CAFTA thru the Senate. I feel that free trade should have its limits, which means that W is too overboard on this issue for my taste. I feel that tarriffs and price supports should be each nation's prerogative, and that it can be a healthy one.

    What Blair or Chirac can do I don't know, or care. I do know what Bush can do, and that is quite a bit in agriculture aside from a few specific areas, and it worries me. There is no wiggle room for him in the industrial area, he simply does not have the votes, but he may be able to get enough votes to open some agricultural markets, for the worse in my opinion, especially if he can present it with a globalist slant to pressure some Dems. This is troublesome to me since I would rather higher tarriffs and supports in many areas, paid for largely by complete withdrawal of US troops from Europe and cancellation of all mutual defense treaties, especially NATO.

    My point is that Bush should be taken seriously on this sort of pronouncement. I certainly take him seriously, and I disagree with the policy, even though I voted for the guy, as did my state by a large margin, in the last election.

    p.s. he also gets a really good jab in at good old Jaques, and Nosey is right that B&B can play a longer term game with agriculture than JC. Blair because of little agriculture and Bush because of such an abundance. Can TB really give up that big tax refund Britain gets? If so there's time to play.