Sunday, March 8, 2015

In Iowa, Cruz Takes A Stand Against Ethanol Mandates

Iowa plays a vastly oversize role in American politics every four years as the presidential primary season comes around. It's been so ever since the state secured the first in line spot for the primaries. Iowa corn farmers are also the primary beneficiaries of one of the great boondoggles of our time -- the Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS) that mandate our use of ethanol and that serve as the basis for subsidies to ethanol producers.

Ethanol, a fuel made from corn, was a bad idea from the start -- turn agricultural production of food and animal feed into an overly expensive and inefficient source of fuel. The greens pushed it for years, but then it came out that biofuel mandates were causing more CO2 production than it was saving. Moreover, and far more imporantly, this diversion of food production has caused rising food and feed prices, thus having a horrendous impact on poverty worldwide, as well as acting as a regressive tax on all Americans. You'll find a much more lengthy discussion of all of this here.

But, once the gravy train started rolling, it has proved impossible to stop. Republican presidential hopefuls, all of whom should look upon the RFS as a cancer in our body politic, have been loathe to tell Iowans "no more." Thus, it was quite refreshing to find that Sen. Tom Cruz, alone among the Republican hopefuls in Iowa for the first politically oriented convention of the 2016 election season, the Iowa Ag Summit, did just that. He told Iowan's "no more."

[A]s the 2016 race gets underway a thousand spectators gathered at the state fairgrounds to watch the party’s top contenders try to thread the needle on farm policy, especially when it comes to ethanol mandates. . . .

Ted Cruz got the Sister Souljah moment he came to Iowa for.

“How about we deal with the elephant in the room right away?” That’s how Bruce Rastetter, the agribusiness mogul who organized the summit and has a large financial stake in the continuation of the RFS, opened his 20-minute interview with the Texas senator.

Sitting on a brown leather chair, Cruz took a sip of his water and crossed his legs to show off a pair of black cowboy boots.

“The answer you’d like me to give is ‘I’m for the RFS, darn it,’” Cruz responded. “That’d be the easy thing to do. But people are pretty fed up with politicians that run around and tell one group one thing and tell another group another thing. Then they go to Washington and don’t do anything they said they would do.”

“I’m going to tell you the truth,” he added.

Cruz is the sponsor of a Senate bill to repeal the RFS standard over a period of five years, so it’s no surprise where he stands. But he did not try to nuance his position. He said he’s against corporate welfare of all kinds and against the government picking winners and losers. . . .

Good for Sen. Cruz. The man has the courage of his conservative convictions, a rarity among Republican politicians these days.


Bookworm said...

I was impressed -- and he got applause which, one hopes, will lead him to take principled stands in other venues. I can't help liking Ted Cruz. And I can't help not trusting Marco Rubio -- no reason, really. It's visceral.

GW said...

Same here on both counts. I was most displeased with Walker and Bush who did not take a firm stand.

And . . . . aren't you supposed to lawyering. [Cracks whip] Out, out, woman (would included smilely face here but no emoticons available).