Iowa Republican: End Ethanol Subsidies

If politicians actually from Iowa, the epicenter of corn-based ethanol, cannot be counted on to reliably support subsidies for the would-be “fuel of the future” then is there anyone left who will support it?

Outside of deficit hypocrite Senator Kent Conrad?

This was clearly intended to be a “gotcha” moment from Spitzer who hoped to catch Rep. King in a bit of fiscal hypocrisy. King didn’t give him the satisfaction.

Rep. King says that the subsidies were intended to get ethanol on its feet and that, since ethanol is apparently on its feet now, the subsidies can end. I’m not sure I can agree. I think the ethanol proponents know their gravy train is drying up, but that doesn’t mean they’re quite ready to let go of the government teet. Direct federal subsidies may end, but indirect subsidies – such as state-level support for blender pumps – will likely continue.

A lot of politicians have invested a lot of political capital in pitching ethanol to the public, and don’t underestimate the willingness of these politicians to spend our tax dollars to keep from having to admit that they were wrong.

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • flamemeister

    “If politicians … from Iowa … cannot be counted on to … support subsidies for the … “fuel of the future” … is there anyone left who will support

    Mitt Romney.

  • sbark

    Chinese Company Celanese (CE) has developed ability to make ethanol from coal with estimated 25%+ efficiency gains………..

    might take care of your concern.    Then you can start harping weekly on much biggers subsidies…ah, i mean welfare such as   cheap american food policy,  1040 home mtg int. deduciton for houses not needed,  IRA/ 401k deducts for retirment planning people should do on their own.   Solar, wind, rural telephone  all of which require govt money from start up to finish and to perpetuallity.  

    Then you’ll find out corn ethanol adds maybe 5 cents to a box of corn flakes…….and then everyone will beotch again when they find Asian demand and QE 3,4,5 are the main reasons for commodity inflation….

    • JustRuss

      25% efficiency gains over using grain as the base.
      If you have to extract coal in order to turn it into ethanol that really isn’t very “green” is it?
      I thought the most “green” part of ethanol from grain was that it pulls carbon from the air while growing, which then gets turned into fuel and released back into the air? How does coal make that argument?

      Surely coal is worth more on its own than after it is converted to ethanol (even with subsidies). Honestly it makes much more sense to turn coal into natural gas both BTU wise and Pricewise, and then convert cars to CNG. 

      Ethanol producers may very well move to coal as the “crop” of choice, but they can’t pretend to be clean or renewable any longer. Plus if you start seeing coal sold to ethanol producers the price for both ethanol and coal-fired electricity go up.

      • borborygmi

        Once upon a time, Hitler’s Nazis found themselves in a jam: how to fight a world war with meager oil reserves— especially after the debacle of the Russian Front and the loss of those former Soviet oil fields? The answer was to convert German coal into liquid fuel for the Luftwaffe and those Panzer tanks. (No, this plot line is not courtesy of Mel Brooks. In fact, General George Patton siphoned off some of this fuel from captured German vehicles and used it to race towards Germany in 1944.)
          How far has technology come.  

        • JustRuss

          Quite a long way.  I can’t tell if you are agreeing with me or not either, you are missing your usual level of snark and sarcasm. 

          Point remains, you can make it cheaper with Coal, but coal is still not a “renewable” resource as far as we know, and coal must still be taken out of the ground. So any attempts to call anything to do with coal clean/renewable/environmental  are a fallacy. 

          Clean coal power is probably the cleanest coal is going to get without paying a lot of money to make it into something with less BTU’s. However if the point is that we can make petrol products from coal when oil becomes scarce then I’m 100% for it.

  • VocalYokel

    A wise man (my Dad) taught me, “Never confuse motion with progress.”
    The subsidization of ethanol and other ‘alternative’ fuels serves only as a means to make the American public think that the Government is doing something.
    It is my considered opinion that farm subsidies will continue as a means of controlling farmers, markets, and the price of food.
    History would indicate that you can oppress a population in many ways, but when the point comes where there are queues for food, and folks not only have to wait in line with a wheelbarrow full of money for a loaf of bread, but find the bread is gone when they get to the head of the line, that is when they really start to think revolution…

    • flamemeister

      “A wise man (my Dad) taught me, ‘Never confuse motion with progress.'”

      An old Hawaiian cowboy friend of mine would look at the whole Obama Administration and say: “Yep, it’s got a lot of moving parts.”

  • DopeyDem

    Did CNN ever figure out that they could have had the interview of the decade if they just let Spitzer interview Weiner. Even the names fit the entire scenario.