Matt Yglesias points readers to the map I mentioned here of farm subsidy recipients in Manhattan, agrees with what I had to say on the subject, but then for some reason insists that I’ve only discovered my distaste for subsidizing millionaires since the Democrats took over Congress. He writes: “Back when the Republicans were in the majority and the congress passed a bad farm bill, he was all for it.”
For what it’s worth, I certainly was not. And the map, after all, depicts the results of that very bad Republican farm bill, since a new very bad Democratic farm bill has not yet been enacted. I can see the sense in offering some modest support to small (especially family) farmers in financial trouble, but our regime of agricultural subsidies has long since turned corrupt and profligate, and is in most respects a form of corporate welfare—and thus wasteful and unnecessary. That has been the fault of Republicans at least as much as Democrats (and in the past 12 years surely more than Democrats).
The administration has proposed a modest improvement of that regime, which would be better than the bill the House passed in July, and better than the bills Republican congresses passed for the last decade.