Saturday, October 27, 2007

Funny Farms

As the time approaches for approval of large-scale multi-year agricultural legislation, groups seeking reform in the farm subsidy program are using "big data" representations for rhetorical purposes. The Environmental Working Group has a Policy Analysis Database that allows people to see all the addresses of federal farm subsidy recipients by using Google Maps with dots indicating the relative size of the payments. I was surprised to see several addresses just a few blocks from me in urban Santa Monica, although they weren't of the $150,000 scale that others in the metropolitan LA area are receiving for investment properties apparently lying fallow in Kansas or Texas or rural Northern California. One of these recipients was a local supermarket magnate. The map also includes information about average home price and child poverty levels in the neighborhood, to make the point that the affluent may be benefiting as entrenched recipients of the program when federal dollars could be spent elsewhere. In my neighborhood there were "farmers" from Montana, Maryland, and Iowa, with annual subsidy incomes from about $150 to about $10,000.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home