Yglesias

Exclusive

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I like Michael Pollan’s books a lot. And it’s good that you’re hearing more discussion of agriculture and nutrition policy. But a lot of Pollan’s forays into this area seem to mostly reveal a lack of understanding of how the political process works. For example, this idea:

Make the House agriculture committee exclusive. The most important committees in the House — Energy, Finance, etc. — are “exclusive,” which means their membership has to be drawn from diverse geographical and ideological sources. Ag isn’t exclusive, which means it can be (and is) packed with representatives of Big Ag. It’s where decent ag legislation goes to die.

Ezra Klein observes that it would actually do the reverse. If House Ag were exclusive, then only members representing farm interests could ever possibly afford to give up the chance to sit on other committees for the sake of a seat on the Agriculture Committee.