I hate subsidies.
Conservatives are for low taxes, but we want everyone paying into the system. Skin in the game, as it’s often called. When the subject of subsidies surfaces, many so-called small government champions flip a different card.
Subsidies are another name for corporate welfare. Anytime an organization or industry avoids paying its due in taxes, the American taxpayer foots the bill. This practice allows bureaucrats to pick winners and losers, and it’s not right.
We have all kinds of subsidies — light rail, major sports, the hoax of what today is defined as clean energy. Every company receiving a special tax or other favor from local, state, and federal government agencies is considered a special interest, since rare is the case when you get a subsidy with nothing expected in return (votes, campaign contributions, endorsements). Talk about an unlevel playing field.
In election cycles, however, acting as if the term “special interest” is acid in their mouths, candidates temporarily carve the term into a billy club with which to bash opponents in campaign ads, debates, and stump speeches.
Which brings me to ethanol.
A derivative of corn, we’re told ethanol is good for the environment. You see the word everywhere at the gas station. And since Iowa is synonymous with corn, ethanol is a big cash crop there. The problem is the science is not settled on the benefits of ethanol, and there are many questions about the damage it does to soil as well as today’s engines. Regardless of the truth, the American taxpayer has been preventing this industry from surviving on its own for a few decades, to the tune of billions.
Which brings me to Donald Trump.
I saw something unusual about Donald this week. It was creepy, and not at all in line with how he normally speaks before a crowd. He has built a reputation on walking into a public appearance with no prepared speech, and wowing the audience. People love it. However, in total opposition of his normal style, this week Trump is seen reading off a prepared script:
“The EPA should ensure that biofuel … blend levels match the statutory level set by Congress under the [renewable fuel standard]…”
His tone was robotic, the words before him — his or someone else’s — were formulaic and, to the non-corn voter, eye-glaze inducing. Many candidates get in trouble when they go off script; in Donald’s case, his problem is he went on script. It was the first time I’ve seen him go automaton, and it gave me this sense that if he were president, whatever wind he needs to catch to put up a W for The Donald, that’s the wind he’s going with. In other words, he was pandering to a special interest, the American taxpayer be damned.
Don’t kid yourself in thinking Trump has no special interest. First, Trump is Trump’s special interest. He’ll do whatever it takes to win. While this is an admirable quality for a soldier or SEAL, when a politician lives by this philosophy, constituents often pay the price.
Courage is doing what’s right when everyone around you is wrong. Propping up any industry with American tax dollars is wrong — whether it’s the NFL, light rail, or ethanol.
Ted Cruz walked into an ethanol lions den when he told a group of corn farmers he rejected the Renewal Fuel Standards, the regulation behind ethanol subsidies. By the way, Sarah Palin — who just endorsed Trump — was also against energy subsidies. I still don’t get why she picked Donald.
What Trump did in Iowa was cowardly and dishonest. The more I see of him, the more I dislike.