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16.7.02

A letter in today's Wall Street Journal suggested another good reason to get rid of farm subsidies -- the war on drugs. Subsidies on legal crops in the U.S. drive down the worldwide price for those products, making it impossible for farmers in countries without subsidies (i.e., the whole third world) to make a living growing them. So they turn to crops like coca and opium poppies, which they can grow profitably because there's a properly functioning market for them. It seems obvious that we could make actual progress (rather than just torching coca fields) by reducing farm subsidies so that the market would give poor farmers real options. But then, why would a Republican administration do something that promotes the free market and combats drugs?

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