In spite of the general truth in the statement that there is no such thing as a free lunch, there seems to be an exception to the rule. Or at least a half-exception. The Guardian backed (!) blog kickAAS writes:
But hang on. If I am doing the math correctly that $289 billion is costing the US’s 300 million citizens approaching $1,000 each. So if subsidies were abolished two things would happen. Developing countries, freed from unfair competition, would be able to grow crops they are good at – such as cotton and sugar – giving them the biggest economic boost in recent memory. Second, not only would this not cost the US (and, of course Europe and Japan) anything at all but they would get a cashback of $1,000 for every citizen. There is such a thing as a free lunch.
It’s a half-exception because the farmers currently receiving these vast amounts of money would lose out, but still. You have to ask yourself whether you think it’s reasonable to pay $1000, along with everybody else, plus denying lots of poor people an honest way of earning some money, in order to prop up farmers in the rich world. I doubt the bill would get much support if it was phrased like this.
The European Union, by the way, is just as bad. But two wrongs doesn’t make a right, as we well know.