Tuesday, September 10, 2013

EWG and Non-Farmers

The EWG has a new report out, entitled "City Slickers Harvest Cash Crop" which Ron Nixon in the NYTimes writes about here, using the hook of the possible extension of farm programs for another year.

EWG has a familiar theme: the inequity of government payments to people who don't get dirt under their nails.  Frankly, I'm surprised the amount here is so low:
 "Residents of America’s 54 largest cities collected more than $24 million in Direct Payment farm subsidies in 2012, according to new research by the Environmental Working Group."
Maybe I've been brainwashed by their previous reports to expect a bigger figure?    I wonder, would this headline sound better to the public: "Heirs of Deceased Farmers Receive Government Dollars"? Of course, we don't know how much is going to heirs, and how much is truly going to Wall Street investors in farmland, but probably the majority of the $24 million.  And it may be that those Wall Streeters who now own farmland have been suckered--if the current high farmland values turns out to be indicators of a bubble, they could be hurt.

EWG has Google maps of the locations of some recipients.  Perhaps significantly, they don't show NYC or Boston.   The distribution of locations in the DC area seems a bit more random than I'd expect; a few markers in the poorer areas, probably showing heirs.

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