In retrospect, I think that Scott Walker made a bit of a mistake in throwing Liz Mair over the side like that because she hates ethanol subsidies as much as I do. It complicated Gov. Walker’s narrative, at exactly the wrong moment in time. And it turned out to not even matter, which legitimately has to eat at the guy.
Ach, well. Grist for the mill, folks. Grist for the mill.
I do not like the idea of expanding, or even retaining, ethanol subsidies. I do not think that ethanol subsidies are good for the country, or for poor people, or even for our cars. And I am unconvinced of the wisdom of Republicans pandering to a state that votes Democratic on the Presidential level.
I am not going to keep my mouth shut on that simply because candidates disagree with me. I never have. I’m not going to start now.
You may find it here. Spoiler warning: I am not a fan of corn-based ethanol subsidies. Hoo, yeah, I am not a fan.
You should have seen what I wrote originally. Swear words were involved. Anyway, Iowa’s worried that it may not have the influence that it once had over the Republican primaries:
On the surface, Iowa’s Republican presidential caucuses seem healthier than ever: would-be candidates are flocking here mere months after the last White House race ended, drawing sizable crowds and ample news coverage. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania were in this central Iowa college town for a Christian conservative conference this month, and Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky has come to the state twice since May.
But Iowa’s political leaders, always looking ahead to the next campaign, worry that looks can be deceiving and that the prized role of the Republican caucuses is in jeopardy.
Of course, the NYT gets it precisely backward: they think that Iowa’s travails are, wait for it, wait for it… due to the conservatives taking over the nomination process! In reality, what propels a lot of national Republican disgust towards the Iowa caucuses is the way that they require Republican candidates to pretend that propping up fuel ethanol production is not a poor-person-killing abomination before the Lord, if said candidates want to compete in that state. That would be bad enough, except that Iowa has also turned out for the Democrat in the last two elections, and the last three out of four. It’s bad enough that we have to betray good, conservative free-market principles; it’s kind of infuriating that we don’t even get good value for our souls. Continue reading I… do not care if the Iowa GOP is unhappy that it may lose influence in the 2016 election.
Details here and here: the short version is that the Senate back in June kicked off opposition to continued ethanol subsidies via a bipartisan amendment: it didn’t pass, but Congress has just let both the ethanol subsidy and a restrictive foreign tariff (on Brazilian sugar-cane ethanol) lapse. Given that the Iowa caucuses will be finished by the time Congress reconvenes – and given that the House of Representatives is currently chock-heavy with people who spit at the very phrase ‘ethanol subsidy’ – getting back either is going to be a problem for the domestic ethanol industry. Mind you, there are still mandates for using ethanol in place, but note again the ending of the tariff; I’m not a businessman, but effectively lowering the price of Brazilian ethanol by 54 cents/gallon while simultaneously effectively raising the price of domestic ethanol by 45 cents/gallon sounds to me like it would at least raise some intriguing alternatives. Continue reading Oh, by the way, ethanol subsidies are dead.
I do the food shopping for the family, and I can attest to this personally: prices have been increasing for about a year now. More accurately, the per-unit prices have increased; the actual vendor’s product typically either has a higher sales price for the same amount of product as a year ago, or else offers less product in order to avoid ‘raising prices.’ I’m seeing more ‘price freeze’ promotions from supermarkets – which means that the supermarkets are just eating the increased costs themselves in order to keep their customer base.
This should not surprise anybody. We’re deliberately restricting energy production in this country, which inevitably leads to higher fuel prices, which inevitably leads to higher retail prices for everything that relies on fuel for transport*. We’re also subsidizing the conversion of perfectly good foodstock into a relatively inefficient fuel in order to placate Leftist religious fanatics, and never mind the implications for food prices at home and geopolitical stability abroad. Right now the major thing keeping this from being a major political headache is because our old – which is to say, pre-2007** – economic model was very, very good at keeping even our poor adequately fed by historical*** standards; we’re still coasting on that.
We might even be able to coast on it until the grown-ups get control back.
Via Zero Hedge, via Instapundit.
Moe Lane Continue reading #rsrh Grocery bills ARE up. Noticeably.
It’s quite fun, for given values of “fun:”
- The US Government subsidizes the production of corn-based ethanol, as a substitute/supplement for gasoline.
- To maintain a demand, the US Government pushes for standard gasoline mixtures containing 10% ethanol. This will supposedly decrease pollution and increase efficiency.
- Corn is then turned into ethanol wholesale.
- Corn-based food prices rise. That includes critters that eat corn, by the way.
- This results in higher food prices domestically. This decreases efficiency.
- This also results in more food insecurity globally.
- Corn-based ethanol, being subsidized, crowds out other ethanol fuels. If this is confusing: please, reference Gresham’s Law, and generalize from its specific example.
- Ethanol, being less energy efficient than gasoline – which is why we weren’t using it to begin with – ends up causing effective inflation, as it costs more to go the same distance in your car. This also increases pollution.
- In short, 10% ethanol gasoline results in more pollution and less efficiency.
- Therefore, the only solution… is to raise the amount of ethanol in gasoline to 15%.
You have to realize, of course, that darn few DC bureaucrats actually drive anywhere. And the ones that do rarely pump their own gas.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
Via Instapundit comes this story warning that restaurant food prices are about to sharply rise. The challenge for the government? Why, finding who to blame, of course.
After all: can’t blame it on short-sighted conversion of corn crops into ethanol; the government’s pushing for even more use of ethanol, despite the objections of the auto industry. Can’t blame it on higher gas prices; the government doesn’t really want to explain why it’s put a moratorium on offshore drilling in (disproportionate) response to last year’s Gulf oil spill. And there’s absolutely, positively, and completely no possible way that this administration is going to let even the hint of a suggestion of an implication of a reference to The Dread Word “Stagflation” escape any lips of any person associated with the executive branch. If that happens, the President might as well put on a sweater, muck up a hostage rescue, and go get beat up by a rabbit now – just to get it over with.
No, the government’s most comfortable option is, as always, to blame somebody on the Right for all of this. My guess? Rush Limbaugh. He hasn’t been the subject of a Two-Minute Hate recently, and this administration likes to cycle through their favorite targets of those, lest overuse of any one of them makes the whole thing stale.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
Allahpundit calls House Democrats “a gang of cheap losers” for folding like this, and it’s hard to disagree: apparently, all that rhetoric about tax cuts for the rich can easily be trumped with an additional ethanol subsidy. To which I say, drink deep: because in a world where Al Cubslayer Gore is talking about ending that kind of pork, the odds that it’s going to get renewed by the House next year is dropping precipitously.
Also, out of curiosity: is there anything that a Democratic politician will stand his or her ground on? I mean, personally I have to take a somewhat detached view about what slop the President has to feed to his pigs in order to get them to stop squealing; the GOP currently has no effective control over that aspect of domestic policy. Still… there’s more than the slop for Democrats, right? – But if there is, why can’t I figure out what it could possibly be?
Moe Lane (crosspost)
PS: You cannot make me respect someone who will not respect himself.
(Via AoSHQ) Hey, you know that 7.7 billion dollars we’re spending every year on ethanol subsidies? You know, the pseudo-environmental boondoggle that doesn’t actually do anything except pay off politically important American constituencies and push up food costs worldwide? The policy that has created yet another set of worthless parasites battening off of your tax money? Yeah, that program’s up for renewal, so we should kill it.
Isn’t that right, Al Gore?
“It is not a good policy to have these massive subsidies for (U.S.) first generation ethanol,” said Gore, speaking at a green energy business conference in Athens sponsored by Marfin Popular Bank.
The whole thing is fascinating reading: so much so that you have to wonder whether Gore has either been replaced with his Evil Twin, or (more likely) he’s simply heavily invested in second-generation biofuels, which are not made from corn. If the latter, well, it’d make a certain amount of sense for him to publicly and explicitly no longer care about farmers in Tennessee and Iowa, given that Al Gore is never, ever going to be able to become President ever again…
Moe Lane Continue reading #rsrh Gore’s Gory War on Ethanol.