Waive goodbye to ethanol
[Washington Examiner] Markets thrive on competition. Unfortunately, this doesn’t just apply to real economic markets. It also applies to markets for bad ideas and political pandering.

With approximately 200 Democrats now running for president (we lost count a few weeks ago), the bidding to bribe Iowa caucusgoers is becoming intense. This is unfortunate not just because it is unseemly but also because the offers are coming at the expense of the nation’s well-being and the environment’s health.

The worst pander so far comes from Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. When she is not privately belittling her staff in ALL CAPS 4 a.m. emails, Klobuchar is attempting to gain traction in Iowa by fattening the wallets of ethanol barons. Her specific plan is to stop granting waivers to small refiners that let gasoline producers out of a small part of the requirement that they mix their product with large volumes of ethanol, which is economically unnecessary and environmentally harmful.
The blending requirement exists solely to subsidize an industry that would barely exist without it. Ideally, the government would grant universal waivers and let the market decide how much ethanol it wants in gasoline. But unfortunately, this is not how the real world works.

It would not be worth paying much heed to Klobuchar’s opening bid, except that it will be matched and exceeded by several other Democratic candidates who actually have a chance of winning their party’s nomination. Even worse, President Trump, a fan of ethanol since before his second-place Iowa finish in 2016, may feel a need to increase his own bid when the general election season rolls around.

Iowa’s critical role in selecting nominees, especially Democratic nominees, has made ethanol nearly bulletproof. Unless more politicians gain the kind of courage that Sen. Ted Cruz displayed when he promised to phase out ethanol subsidies during his presidential run in 2016, unnecessary ethanol mandates are here to stay.
Posted by: Besoeker 2019-05-31