As the presidential election heats up, we will continue to track where the candidates stand on ethanol and energy subsidies. The issue of ethanol subsidies is vital to conservatives for several reasons. First, ethanol epitomizes everything that is wrong with onerous government interventions; corporate cronyism, market distortions, higher prices for vital goods and services, and government dependency. Also, with food and energy prices at an all time high, ethanol subsidies will provide the eventual Republican nominee with a unique opportunity to use bread and butter issues to educate voters about the virtues of the free market.
Finally, and most importantly, if the Republican nominee lacks the temerity to rebuff a handful of corn welfare recipients in Iowa, he/she will certainly lack the moxie to cut trillions from the millions of dependents on the welfare state.
Last week, Mitt Romney embraced ethanol, Tim Pawlenty disavowed his support for ethanol (while speaking in Iowa), and Newt Gingrich….well, he is Professor Cornpone. Today, Sarah Palin rejected all energy subsidies in a brief interview with reporters in Gettysburg. Scott Conroy of Real Clear Politics reports from Gettysburg:
Asked Tuesday whether she supports the federal subsidy of ethanol, an always critical issue in the presidential nominating cycle, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin went one step further and called for the elimination of all energy subsidies.
“I think that all of our energy subsidies need to be relooked at today and eliminated,” Palin told RCP during a quick stop at a coffee shop in this picturesque town tucked into the south-central Pennsylvania countryside. “And we need to make sure that we’re investing and allowing our businesses to invest in reliable energy products right now that aren’t going to necessitate subsidies because, bottom line, we can’t afford it.” ….
“We’ve got to allow the free market to dictate what’s most efficient and economical for our nation’s economy,” Palin said. “No, at this time, our country can’t afford the subsidies. Before, though, we even start arguing about some of these domestic subsidies that need to be eliminated — should be — we need to look at ending subsidies and loans to foreign countries and their energy production that we’re relying on, like Brazil.”
It’s good to hear the presidential candidates taking on all energy subsidies along with ethanol. Although ethanol is the most odious and ineffectual of all the subsidized energy sources, we should not be subsidizing any form of energy. Consequently, every presidential candidate should oppose subsidies for natural gas as well. This would keep up the pressure on House Republicans to renounce their support and co-sponsorship of the T. Boone Pickens handout-H.R. 1380.