Bipartisan drive to end ethanol subsidies

I try to refrain from getting too normative on this blog.  And when I do, I try to point out alternative viewpoints.  But there are times when there just doesn't seem to be two sides to the story.  Which brings me to ethanol subsidies and mandates, which seem like a really bad idea on almost all fronts.

It's nice to see my views have some bipartisan support.

I can see arguments in favor of subsidies for research and development for biofuels.  But since long-run prospects presently seem limited, I gather these subsidies should be modest relative to, say, subsidies for R&D on battery technology and renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and ocean currents.

I can see how ethanol probably does make some sense as an un-subsidized gasoline additive.  Even without further subsidies, I suspect ethanol would be significant fuel for awhile, albeit larger than it would have been had ethanol never been subsidized.

But I cannot see any good reason for the policy currently in place.  Not unless oblique and inefficient transfers of wealth from taxpayers to relatively rich corn farmers, ADM, and Monsanto can be considered a pubic good.

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