Good Map

NYsubsidies.jpg

As both a map enthusiast and a non-fan of agricultural subsidies, I really liked this graphic. Each red dot represents the address of a recipient of federal farm subsidies. The big red dots represent people getting over $250,000 a year. Given that this is clearly a map of Manhattan, one can safely assume that that these people are not struggling family farmers. It's a neat illustration of an out-of-whack system. It comes to me via Yuval Levin who has the right position on the issue, but naturally glosses it with a misleading partisan spin:

The farm bill passed by House Democrats in July would continue giving millionaires farm subsidies (setting the income threshold for payments at $1 million a year, and keeping loopholes in place that allow some making much more to qualify). The Bush administration has proposed sharply reducing the income threshold to $200,000 a year and ending many of those loopholes.

The real story with farm legislation, of course, is that bad policy comes from a bipartisan group of farm-state legislators. Back when the Republicans were in the majority and the congress passed a bad farm bill, he was all for it. Now that it's a Democratic congress, he's posturing as in favor of sounder policy. But the real dynamics aren't partisan or even ideological -- it's bipartisan sausage-making at its finest.

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Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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