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The Ethanol Boondoggle and The Hawkeye Handouts

12/22/2010

Democracy and Power 107:  Counting votes

Successful … politicians are insecure and intimidated men. They advance politically only as they placate, appease, bribe, seduce, bamboozle or otherwise manage to manipulate the demanding and threatening elements in their constituencies. – Walter Lippmann (1889-1974), American Journalist and Author

In a democracy the politician must favorably influence the majority of their voting constituents.  In all political decisions the politician calculates how many votes are gained by voting money spent on an interest group versus how many votes are lost.

The Ethanol Boondoggle and The Hawkeye Handouts

 

Iowa has two prominent Senators, Harkin a Democrat and Grassley a Republican.  Long ago, Walter Lippmann defined a politician’s nefarious route to power:   

Successful … politicians are insecure and intimidated men. They advance politically only as they placate, appease, bribe, seduce, bamboozle or otherwise manage to manipulate the demanding and threatening elements in their constituencies.

Harkin and Grassley certainly know that subsidizing ethanol is a scam.  If they don’t, it is because their fear of agribusiness blocks rational reasoning.  To the contrary, the Senators have realistically counted their constituents’ votes for re-election.  Being elected is more important that correct policy.  Thus, the two Senators from Iowa are hell-bent on extending the subsidies, continuing a costly and destructive policy.  The Wall Street Journal reports:

Direct subsidies and trade protectionism, plus mandates that force consumers to buy ethanol: This is the trifecta of government support, and all for an industry that is 30 years old and that even Al Gore now admits serves none of its advertised environmental purposes.

Subsidies, protective tariffs and mandates forcing Americans to buy ethanol have needlessly squandered billions of dollars.  Now, as part of the extension of the tax rates, Congress and the President have renewed the ethanol subsidies.  Shame.  Shame.   Shame.

Only a citizen revolt can stop this immoral political behavior.  Just as the Tea Party revolution stopped the politicians’ $1.2trillion omnibus spending swindle, the ethanol fraud must become an election issue in 2012.