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20 years in, NAFTA finally sours the US sugar program

Download the PDF Subscribe to The Ledger Get AEI’s weekly snapshot of economic news, views, and cues. First Name: Last Name: Email: Zip Code: Key points: Although the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was signed 20 years ago, it only truly began affecting the US sugar industry over the past two years as world

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A subsidy for the rich that will have you clutching your head

Agricultural lobbies often make economists who care about the general economic wellbeing of society clutch their heads in their hands. Not only do these lobbies seek subsidies that will mainly flow to farmers who are much wealthier and have much higher incomes than the average U.S. household, but they also generally appear to pay little

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Good politics trumps good governance, again

The current so-called “do-nothing Congress” has an impressive resume of legislation left on the table: corporate tax reform, the budget, and the border crisis.  Yet it was able to pass a trillion dollar 2014 farm bill. Why did the farm bill pass when so many other pieces of legislation didn’t? It would be nice if

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5 questions free-market advocates must ask about the 2014 farm bill

Editor’s note: This piece was co-authored by Brad Wassink. On Monday night, conferees from the House and Senate Agriculture Committees filed a farm bill that has been two years in the making. The bill is large and complicated, with many changes from prior legislation. Given the tight timeline from submission to vote, market-oriented policymakers would

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Truth in advertising: Are there really any federal budget savings in a new Farm Bill?

Congressional leaders are seeking ways to offset the increases in spending that would occur were federal benefits for the long term unemployed to be extended for several months. Some have suggested those savings could come from reductions in farm subsidies embedded in a new farm bill. Yesterday, for example, Senator Grassley (R-IA), a long-time member

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Farmers truly deserve a Happy Christmas, but probably not a give-away farm bill

Christmas is a time for love, thoughtfulness, and caring: even for farm organizations that seem to want almost nothing more than to send taxpayer dollars to wealthy farmers in the largest amounts they can possibly finagle. The truth about most farmers in the United States is that, like so many wonderful people in America, they

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Lower corn prices may deliver many farm bill blessings

Image Credit: Fishhawk (Flickr) (CC BY 2.0) Economists are often viewed as poor forecasters, but sometimes we get lucky—especially when government policies that are fairly obviously unsustainable over the long haul have been distorting prices in commodity markets. Such is the case with the price of corn, which is now falling. That fact has important

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Who benefits from food aid? Not whom you might expect

  In Coleridge’s classic poem, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, the Ancient Mariner, a grizzled and unpleasant old sea salt, forces an unfortunate wedding guest to stop and listen to his story. He (the Ancient Mariner) holds him with his glittering eye— The Wedding-Guest stood still, And listens like a three years’ child: The Mariner hath

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US farm policy amounts to $80 billion for rich people

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in Real Clear Markets on October 16, 2013. Alice doesn’t just live in Wonderland anymore; she seems to be everywhere. On ABC, in numerous op ed columns (along with the entire Corleone family in one case), and even hiding out in multiple DC monuments. She has also, apparently, invaded

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A farm bill bait-and-switch

The 2013 farm bill presents a real opportunity for substantive changes in U.S. agricultural policy. But instead of reform, both the House and Senate agricultural committees are offering classic bait-and-switch proposals to protect farm subsidies — more than 80 percent of which flow to households much wealthier than the average American family. As I discuss

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