20 Aug 2012

Winning the subsidy battle

I suggest this strategy for convincing politicians to stop subsidizing special interest groups:
  1. Look for the "small players" in the same industry who do not get the subsidies, e.g., small-scale farmers or fishermen who get little compared to industrial operations.
  2. Find some of their retired folks, the ones with gnarled hands, worn clothes and too much experience.
  3. Send these representatives -- in waves or sequence -- to personally tell politicians how subsidies to the big guys hurt them, their families and their communities.
  4. Argue for an END to subsidies, not for additional subsidies.
  5. Give statistics on workers, revenue per worker, profits, etc. for big and small players. Also measure the size of direct/indirect subsidies.
  6. Do all this on video, with responses from politicians recorded and highlighted.
It's hard to break into an industry-lobbyist-politician lovefest, but this may be the most telegenic, emotional and economically rational way to do so.

It worked (via GG) when West African farmers were brought to testify against subsidies to US cotton farmers at the WTO in Geneva. It can work again.

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