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Al Gore and Ethanol

Democracy and Power 106: A Politician Receives No Financial Gain for Good Policy or Punishment for Bad Policy

It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong.
– Thomas Sowell

In a democracy, a politician does not have an ownership interest in the state. There is no financial gain for wise policy decisions. Nor financial lose for bad decisions.

A politician’s rewards are immediate – power, prestige, and perquisites.


Al Gore and Ethanol He concedes the industry he promoted serves no useful purpose.

The Wall Street Journal reports on Al Gore admitting that billions of dollars of subsidies to farmers for ethanol was of no value:  

It is not a good policy to have these massive subsidies for first-generation ethanol," Al Gore told a gathering of clean energy financiers in Greece this week. The benefits of ethanol are "trivial," he added, but "It's hard once such a program is put in place to deal with the lobbies that keep it going."

 Gore admits to the political advantage he received for supporting ethanol: 

"One of the reasons I made that mistake is that I paid particular attention to the farmers in my home state of Tennessee, and I had a certain fondness for the farmers in the state of Iowa because I was about to run for President."

 Since 1976 when Gore was first a Member of Congress until this admission, Gore has been a strong advocated for a ethanol.  The WSJ chronicles Gore's support for ethanol as Vice President, the Democratic nominee for President and his non-stop global warming campaign. Now, he says the benefits are trivial. 

Al Gore supported ethanol for the power, prestige, adulation and the votes of millions of people.  Curiously, he makes his admission before financiers of clean energy.  Was he concerned the financiers, relying on his previous advocacy for ethanol, might institute lawsuits?

Which raises this question:  For over thirty years the American people have paid for subsidizing corn.  The cost is in the billions if not trillions.

Why should Al Gore not be financially held liable for thirty years of of self serving decisions that were wrong?  Why should he not reimburse the America people for recklessly and repeatedly making wrong decisions, which was a financial cost to every American?