Mapping Out Ridiculous Congressional Legislation

It’s that time of year again. Ninety-five percent of Congress puts in for earmarks, Ted Stevens and John Murtha request something absurd and John McCain gets a guy to dress up like a pig at the anti-pork press conference. It’s a time honored Washington tradition.

This year, most of the news has to do with what the presidential candidates are requesting. You may have heard about Hillary Clinton‘s Woodstock earmark or seen The Hill article”Clinton tops 2008 rivals, gets $530M in earmarks.”

So in honor of one of Washington’s oldest traditions, today’s map comes from the Sunlight Foundation, which has charted all defense earmarks. I originally wanted to post two maps, one of New York State and one of Murtha’s district, but for some reason the Sunlight Foundation site is down. In the meantime, here’s an expanded version compliments of Google Earth Blog.

Defense Earmarks

While we’re talking about pet projects, I’m also posting a telling map about the Farm Bill. If you’re interested in rural policy, the outdoors and politics like I am, then the recent TIME article “Down on the Farm” is a must-read. I’m not knocking the practice of bringing home the bacon, but U.S. agricultural is two shades shy of retarded.

There are plenty of problems with it, including the fact that almost all of the subsidies go to five traditional crops — wheat, corn, soybeans, cotton and rice — and that 60 percent of farmers do not receive subsidies. But one of the strangest aspects is who does receive them: “Millionaire ‘farmers’ like David Letterman, David Rockefeller and the owners of the Utah Jazz,” according to TIME. I personally know a family that collects subsidies for growing hay at their second home, a restored plantation in Brandy Station, Va.

Check out all of the “farmers” who are collecting subsidies in Manhattan. It comes from Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns via The Corner‘s Yuval Levin, who writes:

“The red dots indicate people who live in Manhattan (and so clearly are neither hurting for money nor tilling the soil on the family farm) but receive agricultural subsidies from the federal government. The larger red blobs mark people receiving more than a quarter of a million dollars in farm subsidies annually.”

New York City Farmer

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