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Monday, July 03, 2006

How to spend Buffet's money

Alexander Cockburn has some advice for the Gates-keepers:
Let us not waste too much time here advising Mr. and Mrs. Gates how to spend Buffett's money. At the moment it seems that the Gates couple's core focus is the war on AIDS and malaria, both ravaging Africa. How to improve the Dark Continent's overall well-being? America's senators and representatives can be bought for bargain-basement sums. A modest disbursement by the Gates Foundation-let us say $50,000 for each senator and $20,000 for each rep-would most certainly buy enough votes to end the current government subsidy, $4.5 billion for 2004, to cotton growers. The entire crop that year, the last for which figures are available, was worth $5.9 billion and the subsidy en-ables US growers to export three-quarters of their harvest and control about 40 percent of world trade, thus destroying the farm economies of countries like Mozambique, Benin and Mali. The WTO found the United States in violation this spring, but the ten largest cotton growers here-virtuous Jeffersonian toilers such as Kelley Enterprises (Tennessee) and JG Boswell (California)-have the necessary political clout to keep the subsidies coming. From 1995 to 2004, JG Boswell Co of California received $16,808,427 in cotton subsidies from the US government, while Kelley Enterprises received $8,694,643.
Cockburn has other suggestions, as well. More and more, I have come to believe that the very best thing that America can do for the rest of the world is LEAVE IT ALONE. Stop loaning it money, stealing its resources, choosing its leaders, invading its territory, changing its climate, destroying its markets. We've still got plenty here in this country; we could renegotiate ourselves a very nice way of life, probably better than what we have now, based entirely on the resources within our own borders.