Kevin Drum has the quote of the day from Sen Tom Harkin about why he can’t kill the farm bill’s direct payments to farmers:

“I don’t have the votes. People love free money.”

On a related note: if there are any economists or food experts reading this who can explain the sudden spike in foods prices and the shortages much of the world is experiencing, please drop me a line. I understand the basic structural factors that have led to the increase: growing demand from China, agricultural land being used to grow corn for ethanol, but I don’t quite feel like that explains the suddenness with which prices have spiked.