I liked Ben Carson. A lot. I hoped he’d show up and be the Maud ’Dib. I’m really at the “Anyone But” stage of this thing as I watch Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton roll up massive organizational and fundraising advantages early in the Presidential Primary Preseason. However, you have to look at these things honestly. You can’t pretend someone is The One if all they really are still is Neo. I’m afraid Ben Carson just isn’t there yet.
Carson lost me, at least for now, when he addressed the issues of energy supplies and how they relate to the economy. So Carson went to Iowa to do what candidates do. He was stumping and pumping and trying to reenact the Huckabee Insurrection from 2K8. He was given some standard-fare fielding practice and demonstrated his lack of ability with the political glove below.
Carson, in his first speech in the state as a candidate, was asked by a voter about the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), the federal mandate that fuel refiners blend a certain volume of ethanol and biodiesel into their gasoline and diesel supplies. “I don’t particularly like the idea of government subsidies for anything because it interferes with the natural free market,” Carson said, according to The Des Moines Register. “Therefore, I would probably be in favor of taking that $4 billion a year we spend on oil subsidies and using that in new fueling stations” for 30 percent ethanol blends, he added. – HT: Hot Air
So just how wrong is Candidate Carson on this issue? We first need to go to PriceofOil.org to determine just where Dr. Carson comes up with $4Bn in subsidies to fossil fuel marketers. We learn they are essentially transfer payments that help politically favored sub-classes more easily afford their juice. Forbes Magazine suggests that a very healthy chunk of this is intended to help people other than behemoth oil producers. Here are some examples of the subsidies being paid to Oil Companies.
The single largest expenditure is just over $1 billion for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which is designed to protect the U.S. from oil shortages. The second largest category is just under $1 billion in tax exemptions for farm fuel. The justification for that tax exemption is that fuel taxes pay for roads, and the farm equipment that benefits from the tax exemption is technically not supposed to be using the roads. The third largest category? $570 million for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program. (This program is classified as a petroleum subsidy because it artificially reduces the price of fuel, which helps oil companies sell more of it). Those three programs account for $2.5 billion a year in “oil subsidies.”
Does Dr. Carson really like the idea of the USG having no Strategic Petroleum Reserve? Does he realize how fortunate that nobody asked the kill-shot follow-up “Why do you believe the $1Bn tax break for farm fuel is anti-Free Market?” Or how about this one: “Dr. Carson, do you believe cutting of the $570 Mil we spend on Low-Income Home Energy is an egregious interference in the trade of these resources?” Twenty minutes of Mark Halperin assassinating Dr. Carson’s character would make Mitt Romney look like he cared about the poor in comparison.
Of course I don’t believe Ben Carson doesn’t care about the poor. He’s not a hardhearted E-Vil Plutocrat, he’s worse. He shot from the hip, without doing his homework. This caused him to brutally misdiagnose the situation and throw a routine ground ball into the dugout. He’s lucky this was preseason instead of Yankee Stadium with the bases loaded. But if you’ve seen the movie “Rounders” and know how things went once they figured out Teddy KGB’s Tell, then you know the savvier, nastier people in the GOP Presidential Field just learned a thing or two about Ben Carson that will be to his detriment if he ever elevates himself above the bottom of the pack.
I don’t believe he will elevate himself. I just don’t think he is ready for prime time. I hope he learns that this time out and then becomes a full-time activist or runs for something less cutthroat than the Presidency. He is unlikely to win and unready to lead if he managed the upset. Dr. Ben Carson is not the Maud’ Dib.