We all know that Haiti experienced a total and complete disaster last month. People are seriously struggling to find even drinkable water. In fact, the goal of charities is to distribute 1 million tarps to the folks there on the island.
America will be there to provide the needful; in time, people will get water. And tarps. Money will pour in and with it, the hope that a country can be made better. But what we forget, or perhaps never learn, is that the damage done to Haitians is being done here in America. In the name of good will. And being done by our own government.
In Haiti, a local farmer is able to plant, feed, harvest and bring to market a 55 pound bag of rice for $60 American. That same 55 pound bag of rice, grown in America, only costs $36 American. It’s just shy of 50% more expensive for a Haitian to eat Haitian rice than for him to eat American rice.
To be sure, American’s have better planting, fertilizing and harvesting processes. Clearly we have innovated in ways that the local Haitian farmer can’t. But that can’t explain the huge difference in price. So what can? The government:
Last year, Washington paid farmers some $12.9 billion in subsidies, which critics say have unfairly deflated international prices. That makes it harder for poorer nations to develop their economies by expanding markets abroad.
We are paying billions of dollars to farmers, some of them growing rice where rice wouldn’t normally grow, in order to undercut the local farmer in Haiti?
Look. I’m all for being all competitive and all. The world should grow rice where it can be grown the cheapest. But when a government reaches into your pocket, takes your property and gives it to people in order that they may sell a product that they wouldn’t otherwise produce to a people who can’t compete. Well, that’s just gross.