Farm Bill and Ethanol

Today's Corning Leader has a story on the Farm Bill, which is still crawling through Congress. The bill includes $1.6 billion in specialty crop funding, which will help the area's apple and grape growers.

The bill still includs $5.2 billion of "direct payments" to farmers, who are making record profits due to high food prices that are causing widespread malnutrition in developing countries.

The Times' article on the bill notes that the ethanol tax credit has been reduced 6 cents, to 45 cents/gallon. Though the bill adds incentives for cellulosic ethanol, the corn ethanol subsidy continues to line the pockets of agribusiness without contributing to energy independence.

The ethanol subsidy is an area of government dysfunction where both the left and right can agree. Eric Massa has spoken out against corn ethanol in the past. And even the conservative National Review thinks we're getting shafted:

But today, liberal environmentalists are not the ones pushing ethanol. It's Agribusiness, all the way. Most reputable liberals believe ethanol to be a big joke — an enormous corporate welfare subsidy with no real benefits and many downsides.

On many issues, Conservatives have more in common with ideological liberals than we do with the business interests that come to Washington looking for a handout. Our goal should be to persuade the Left — to use clear failures we agree on, like ethanol — to demonstrate that Big Business will always come to Washington for handouts until Washington stops giving them altogether. Each new handout is the next ethanol, the next sugar — and once you've started giving a handout, it never ends.