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Mitt Romney Still Loves His Ethanol, Especially in Iowa

Say anything you want about Mitt Romney, but at least he isn’t flip flopping this time around.  Instead of disavowing his support for Romneycare, he fully embraced the monstrosity, albeit on a state level.  Now, amidst the growing disquiet over the outrageous ethanol subsidies, and following Tim Pawlenty’s mea culpa on the issue, Mitt Romney is doubling down on his support for this odious subsidy.  Jonathan Weisman of the Wall Street Journal reports:

It was an odd setting for a policy pronouncement, but on the sidewalk outside the Historical Building here, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney embraced ethanol subsidies. It came just days after and blocks from where his rival for the Republican presidential nomination, Tim Pawlenty, said the subsidies should be phased out.

“I support the subsidy of ethanol,” he told an Iowa voter. “I believe ethanol is an important part of our energy solution for this country.” Iowa leads the nation in the production of corn, a main source of  ethanol.

Iowa is certainly the leader in fleecing the rest of the nation with their corn welfare.  Romney definitely gets points for honesty and for his cognizance of the political climate in Iowa.  However, he would be better suited to take his corn show on the road and embark on challenging Barack Obama for the Democrat nomination.  That way, his political calculations would coincide with the policies that he is seeking to represent.

Ethanol subsidies are an anathema to every principle that conservatives embrace. These bailouts for the rich are price-hiking market-distorting government interventions that benefit few at the expense of everyone else.  At a time when we are trying to offer the public an intellectual and moral distinction between the pro-jobs pro-consumer nature of the free market versus the regressive and insidious policies of bailouts and corporate cronyism, Mitt Romney is muddling the battlefield with pale pastels.  At a time when some of those very subsidies are fueling high energy and food prices and are impelling trickle-down unemployment, Romney wants to preclude one of our most effective lines of attack against Obama.

The ethanol industry is unique in that it is insulated from the free market by government imposed subsidies, mandates, and tariffs.  The mandates are killing our cars and the tariffs are blocking the use of more efficient sugar-based ethanol from Brazil.  Mitt Romney might want to divulge to the public if he is in favor of the mandates and tariffs as well.  After all, the same demographic in Iowa that would support the subsidies, would support the other two sacred stools of ethanol.

It would be interesting to hear how the Republican “frontrunner” squares his conservatism with a policy that is an utter imprecation to everything conservatives have fought for.  And last time I checked, the ethanol policies were promulgated primarily from the federal government.

You can’t use the federalism argument to ameliorate every liberal policy, can you?

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