The Daily Caller has an interview with the Mississippi governor, Haley Barbour, a possible Republican presidential candidate. The Web site asked him about federal farm subsidies and reports he gave the following answer:
"Some of them are very important," Barbour told TheDC when asked if he supported taxpayer subsidies for farmers. "What we want to have in the United States is abundant food at a responsibly low price. To do that, we have to have an appropriately large supply of agricultural products. When sales volumes are good, prices are reasonable, there shouldn't be any farm subsidies. But for natural reasons, nature, or what other countries are doing in terms of how they're handling their markets, sometimes it is appropriate to have farm subsidies."
Dating back to President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal, farm subsidies guarantee farmers a bottom line price on their goods — a taxpayer-funded luxury many other industries lack.
The idea that the government should step into a marketplace to ensure prices are "reasonable" is anathema to the orthodox conservative view that markets work best left free from government interference. Republicans often tout a free, or lightly regulated market as the best method to distribute goods and services, but for Barbour, that principle does not apply to agriculture, which he says needs the government interference to function properly.