Jon Chait at NYMag finds McArgleBargle’s argument indefensible, because “Subsidizing Farmers But Not the Poor Still Evil“:
House Republicans are fighting to impose a $40 billion cut to the food-stamp program while also fighting to lock farm subsidies in place at a higher level than Democrats want. The combination of positions strikes me as indefensible. After all, farmers earn more than the average American, and there’s no rationale for handing government money to somebody just because they own a farm as opposed to a convenience store or a hot-dog stand.
Megan McArdle stands up to say the Republican position is perfectly defensible. McArdle doesn’t like farm subsidies but is even more outraged at disparagement of Republican fiscal priorities, urging, “It seems worth trying to answer the question, rather than merely marinating in our own moral and logical superiority.” The Republicans have a perfectly defensible basis for cutting benefits for poor people but giving them to farmers, she explains — reciprocity:
Here’s one reason Republicans might support farm subsidies, but not food stamps: the sense that you have to do something to get them… They’re not being given money just for breathing.
Actually, that’s not true. The Department of Agriculture does hand out money to people to do nothing. So, yes, they are being given money just for breathing. In fact, breathing is optional — millions of dollars in farm subsidies go to farmers who are dead. This underscores the fact that farm subsidies are a reward for people who own farmland, which they may well have inherited….
Bill “Always Wrong” Kristol better look to his laurels, because McMegan shows real determination to assume his Wingnut Wurlitzer crown for insistent plausibility at a 180-degree angle from the truth.