This CNBC interview of a subsidized farmer, along with my friend Sallie James of Cato, is interesting for a number of reasons. The one I wish to flag here is the farmer’s insinuation that Sallie’s (and Cato’s) opposition to farm subsidies and tariffs is questionable because that opposition allegedly reflects nothing more than Cato’s funding.
I love Sallie’s retort to the farmer when she notes that Cato, unlike him (the farmer), is supported financially only by persons who choose to contribute their own funds. No one is compelled to pony up money to buy anything from Cato that they don’t wish to purchase voluntarily. No one will be jailed for refusing to hand over a portion of his or her income Cato.
Also – I simply can’t resist – this farmer later in the interview trots out the ‘we need free trade but it must be fair trade’ canard. Whenever anyone utters that line, always hear him or her as saying “we don’t need free trade; we need protection. I’m just too cowardly to say so.”