What is it with cows? I mean their flatulence does add to global warming, but they seem so benign, chewing their cud while producing milk and meat. Why is it that national leaders get into fits of backstabbing over them, or especially over all that milk they produce?
Well, of course, that is it; they produce a lot of it, and a variety of products come from the milk, which sometimes markets do not want as much of as some of the other products. This is probably the main reason that in international trade agreements, where highly protected and subsidized agriculture is always a difficult topic, dairy products are often at the top of the list. For years, the predecessor of the EU, the EEC had “butter mountains” from all the excess butter governments bought to stabilize the market and keep the Danes and the French from stabbing each other in the back too viciously. The US also had a butter mountain problem for a long time, much of it stored in Madison, Wisconsin where it caught fire back in 1991 and burned for 8 days. Yes, we must protect those Wisconsin Dairy State cows as Trum is struggling to dop!
Back in 1972, when I was a grad student at U of Wisconsin, then Wisconsin Senator William Proxmire thought briefly of running for president (he didn’t in the end) and showed up at the econ department one time to give a speech. For those who do not know, he was very popular and although a Dem had a bipartisan appeal. A major part of this was a reputation he had for being very clean and not taking money from special interests. He had an image of saving taxpayers money as he handed out “golden fleece” awards to people or entities he determined were wasting public funds. So, of course, in his speech “The Prox” went on and on about all his money saving efforts. At the end one prof asked him, “Senator Proxmire, if you are so much for efficiency and saving money, why do you support dairy import quotas?” To this The Prox just smiled and said, “Well, after all, I am the senior senator from the state of Wisconsin.”