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May 24th 2006

Barney Frank: Free Trader?

Barney Frank, who, like Dan Brown’s fake da Vinci, is a “flamboyant homosexual”, gave a rather…errr…flamboyant speech yesterday on the House floor (it’s page H3090 if the link is dead). [Editor: Nice, four commas and two “…” in one sentence.]

The topic: agricultural subsidies, specifically sugar.

Mr. Chairman, I am here to confess my reading incomprehension. I have listened to many of my conservative friends talk about the wonders of the free market, of the importance of letting the consumers make their best choices, of keeping government out of economic activity, of the virtues of free trade, but then I look at various agricultural programs like this one. Now, it violates every principle of free market economics known to man and two or three not yet discovered.

So I have been forced to conclude that in all of those great free market texts by Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek and all the others that there is a footnote that says, by the way, none of this applies to agriculture.

So true. [Editor: If only Congressman Frank would apply Mises and Hayek to his general vision of economic policy!]

Nothing rubs me the wrong way like liberals feigning concern for the poor/underprivileged/disadvantaged/etc. Some liberals claim that the United States is evil for invading a sovereign country like Iraq and “killing innocent people” (despite the fact that removing Saddam saved many more lives), others are outraged that we aren’t invading the sovereign country of Sudan to “save innocent people” (go figure).

The truth is that poverty kills millions of people a year. Millions more than George Bush’s “imperial storm-troopers” could ever hope of destroying, or saving.

Yet Democrats and Republicans are too addicted to the status quo to do anything meaningful regarding subsidies. It isn’t hard to understand, from a political perspective, why politicians love agricultural subsidies. But understanding horrific policies doesn’t make them any less disappointing.

Kudos to Barney Frank for taking them to task.

Hat tip: Instapundit and The Club for Growth.

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