The Senate just passed the tax bill compromise that would extend the Bush tax cuts. The House is expected to follow suit.
One of the groups cheering the loudest: the ethanol industry.
Why? Because the two main ethanol subsidies, a 45 cents per gallon tax credit and an excise tax on imported ethanol, were inserted into the bill in back room deals.
Both would have expired at the end of the month… now taxpayers will be back on the hook for another $6 billion or so.
For a while I actually thought that the subsidies might finally die, or at least get reduced. They are so wrong for America that both the left and the right-- environmental groups and fiscal conservatives-- now oppose them. But even the worst government programs are tough to kill.
One reason for the survival of the destructive ethanol subsidies is the powerful corn lobby, made up of politicians from corn states and lobbyists like General Wesley Clark, or Growth Energy. The former Nato Supreme Allied Commander now fights for the ethanol industry.
The industry has already received $50 billion from you. Right now the Congressional Budget Office says, for each gallon of gas replaced with ethanol, we pay $1.78 in subsidies. That’s in addition to what you pay at the gas station to fill your tank...
When I confronted Gen Clark about that, (for my new special this Friday in Hannity’s timeslot at 9pm ET-- “Politicians’ Top 10 Promises Gone Wrong”) Clark told me what they want now is a free market!
I pointed out that a free market means: no subsidies… he responded “we are ready to transition out of the subsidies… "
But there’s a catch. Now the ethanol industry wants yet another subsidy “…so that Americans can have a choice as to what they put in their pumps.”
What he means by “choice” is to have the government pay to have gas stations install new ethanol pumps. They cost about $75,000 each.
Of course the government didn’t build the first movie theatres to give Hollywood a place to show movies. Entrepreneurs did when it made economic sense
But at least ethanol is good for the environment, right?
Not exactly… Ethanol was originally pushed by the environmental lobby… as a clean alternative to those nasty fossil fuels… but now, even Al Gore admits it was a mistake...
Ben Schreiber, who works for “Friends of the Earth”, goes even farther. In my new special he says “the environmental consequences of corn ethanol are worse than the environmental consequences of gasoline”
Costs more… and it’s bad for the environment. Your government at work.
I’ll have more on ethanol and the rest of my “Politicians’ Top 10 Promises Gone Wrong” this Friday at 9 PM ET on the Fox News Channel.