This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.
Doubts about corn ethanol are finally translating into votes in Congress.
The U.S. Senate last week voted 73-27 to repeal a $5 billion tax credit for refiners who blend ethanol into their gasoline.
Don’t hold your breath waiting for the $5 billion to return to the public purse. The measure was an amendment to a bill that’s doomed in the Senate, but the lopsided approval margin shows that Republicans and Democrats alike are getting fed up with a particularly appalling form of corporate welfare.
Presidential candidates and Corn Belt politicians want to stay on the good side of heartland agribusiness; their solicitude has resulted in astounding subsidies that industry doesn’t need and the nation can’t afford.
There’s the $5 billion we lose on the 45-cent-a-gallon tax credits for refiners. There’s also a 54-cent tariff on imported biofuels, which effectively prevents Brazil for selling us ethanol it refines from sugar cane, a cheaper source than corn. The Senate voted last week to kill that turkey as well. Read more »