The recipients [of government largesse] are hardly the most deserving: farm households make a third more than others, and the richest of them, which get most of the subsidies, bring in three times what the average non-farm household does. Instead of saving the family farm, the policy is destroying it, encouraging agricultural land consolidation and raising barriers to entry. And then there are the deleterious effects America's price-distorting payments have on foreign farmers and so on trade negotiations.There's nothing new about this. What is striking about these policies are not their disastrous social and environmental impacts; rather it is their persistence, in the face of decades of evidence of their failure to meet stated goals.
Social Policy Bonds are radical; they would entail government relinquishing control of some of its policy instruments. They are untested and have not been refined or widely discussed. But when you get policies like the corrupt, profligate agricultural support policies of most western countries, you realize that the proper standard of comparison should not be not some ideal, wasteless, super-efficient policy paradigm, but the current system whose failings are not just severe and well documented, but persistent in the face of all rationality.