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Ms. BRAMBLE. Sort of secret discussion.
Senator SYMMS. And I think that is one of the purposes of the U.S. being the big contributor or the second biggest but always a very large contributor in most of these banks. Obviously, if we don't take the lead on it, it won't be done.
Now, my able staff assistant, Trent Clark, lived in Brazil for two years, and he has indicated to me many times that that was the case in Brazil. The Brazilian people didn't want to be clear cutting and decimating the rain forest, knowing that nothing valuable could be done with the land afterwards. Yet, these projects continue to roll on, financed by treasuries and governments from many of the developed countries around the world for somebody's idea that it would help them.
Another point that we really haven't discussed too much this morning is the further in debt these underdeveloped countries get, then the more of their total income they are forced to pay to service the debt. This then requires them to grow food themselves when the economic record shows that they can usually buy corn and wheat and soybeans that were grown in Iowa much cheaper than they can grow them themselves in many cases.
They could increase their standard of living, but are forced into a situation where, because of the huge debt, the people end up paying a higher price for the basics of life. Unlike Americans who pay 25 percent of their income, on the average, for groceries, they pay 95 percent of their income for higher priced food that we force them to develop and exclude our own agriculture machine from the opportunity to provide it for them.
So, the interface of what happens is not only bad for the environment but, in some cases, bad for trade and bad for the living standards of the very people that we are trying to help.
I want to thank all of you very much and thank all the witnesses and the agencies that prepared and helped us with this hearing and say a special thanks to Chairman Baucus for his willingness to participate and his obvious interest in this issue and his obvious grasp of what the issue is. I am very grateful.
And, as he mentioned, Senator Durenberger is very interested in this, but because of his membership on the Finance Committee, couldn't stay here this morning.
I think this is an issue that we will hear a lot about in the future, and I think we are going to need the guidance of many people, hopefully, including the U.S. Treasury to finalize what this amendment should be so that the goals of what the amendment can be would be appropriate and productive.
On that note, this hearing is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 11:58 a.m., the subcommittee adjourned, to reconvene subject to the call of the Chair.)
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