Over the past few years the failed War on Drugs has eradicated thousands of acres of American asparagus.
And, love it or hate it, asparagus isn’t even an illegal drug.
One of the misguided policies pursued by the White House over the years is to encourage South American coca-producing countries to grow other plants instead. And they have. Not that it’s done anything to cut down coca production.
The Andean Trade Preferences and Drugs Eradication Act, passed in 1990, provides that products from Peru and Colombia, such as asparagus, can be imported free of tariff. Somebody actually had the bright idea that this would convince farmers to switch from coca, which also can be imported free of tariff. Many did, of course. But there’s still lots of money in coca, so many others did not.
The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy Web site currently notes that the Peruvian coca acreage, mostly in the highlands, is the highest it has been in eight years.
Meanwhile, the small country has become a powerhouse in asparagus production along its Pacific Coast lowlands. Peruvian asparagus production has multiplied 18-fold. The industry has developed a vigorous market and attracted sizable capital investment.
Meanwhile, the Washington industry is a shadow of its former self. Acreage has been cut by 71 percent to just 9,000 acres. In 2005, Seneca closed the world’s largest cannery in Dayton, Columbia County, and shipped its state-of-the-art equipment to — no surprise — Peru. So did Del Monte, when it closed its Toppenish plant. — Seattle Times
Now I’m all for getting rid of tariffs — for the right reasons. Trying to encourage the production of one plant over another is not a right reason, especially when there is no good reason for one of them to be outlawed.
This is what we’re trying to tell you about the U.S. war on drugs. The people running this thing will screw over American farmers while pretending to protect our nation’s interests.
If they didn’t anticipate this outcome, they are incompetent and should be permanently enjoined from drafting economic policy. And if they did anticipate this inevitable outcome, and took no action to mitigate it, they should be jailed for treasonous malfeasance and fed forever on the bitter canned fruits and vegetables of their hypocrisy. — Stop the Drug War
Hypocrisy and politics go hand in hand. You can’t get elected to high office if you aren’t a hypocrite.
The trade preferences act, which has driven American asparagus out of the country, is up for renewal this year. It’s time to stop renewing it, end this utterly lost war on some drugs, and bring our asparagus home.