Is there any policy more backwards, inefficient, and at direct benefit to the few and rich at the expense of the many and poor as agricultural subsidies? The European Union is offering some reminders that the answer is “no”.

Let’s run through the Terrible Policy Checklist. First up, does the policy benefit a cartoonishly inappropriate group of recipients?

…billions of euros pump haphazardly through the system at large, which last year rewarded a variety of beneficiaries beyond the simple farmer. At the head of the line were giant American and European factory farm companies, Spanish road builders, German Gummi bear manufacturers, luxury cruise ship caterers and wealthy landowners — including Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Albert II of Monaco.

Ok, that’s pretty bad. But do policymakers show a complete lack of understanding of good governance?

Despite all the logrolling and special interests, ideas are emerging about a makeover.

One is the concept of public goods — rewarding farmers who meet environmental standards and animal welfare requirements.

Hmmmm… tell me more about these so-called “public goods”. It’s an interesting concept, perhaps the idea will catch hold.

Gummi bears are a public good though, right?

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