• Feb 1st 2011 at 1:00PM
  • 23
There is apparently no official Republican position on ethanol subsidies. The other day, the party's 2008 presidential nominee, John McCain, said that "Agriculture subsidies are outrageous today. Ethanol is a joke." Then, one of the people hoping to be the party's 2012 nominee, came out in strong support for subsidies for ethanol made from corn. Speaking in Iowa, Gingrich also said that the Wall Street Journal editorial page, which has come out against these subsidies, is "just plain flat intellectually wrong" (you can listen to his entire speech here).

Well, that didn't go over so well with the WSJ. The paper fired back, calling him "ethanol lobbyist Newt Gingrich" and wrote that, "his keynote speech to the ethanol lobby was as pious a tribute to the fuel made from corn and tax dollars as we've ever heard." All of this is prompted Biofuels Digest to criticize the Journal, and we're sure there will be more to come.

In 2008, Gingrich proposed lowering fuel prices by tapping into the Strategic Oil Reserves, deregulating offshore oil drilling and investing in alternative fuel technologies. Then, during the brief moment when the right wing was criticizing then-candidate Obama's true statement that properly inflated tires reduce gasoline consumption, Gingrich said, "Sen. Obama was urging you to go out and enrich Big Oil by inflating your tires instead of buying gas." No, really.

[Source: Biofuels Digest, | Image: AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      I am pretty sure that most of the ethanol distilled comes from starch in the corn grown for animal feed. They make alcohol from the starch and then feed animals the left over fiber and protein (DDG). Feeding cattle corn is far more inefficient than producing ethanol because cattle cannot digest the large amount of starch present in corn, they are after all a ruminant species.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Sorry, my response should have been to gtwhitegold, not mario. My bad. I completely agree with mario's post.

        While I'm correcting, it should be "North East" not "Northwest" in one of my posts above....
        • 4 Years Ago
        It has traditionally taken about 40 years to transition off of one major energy source to another.

        This was true for getting off of whale blubber, horse-drawn carriages, steam engines, etc.

        It will take around 40 years to transition off of oil as an energy source too. More if the folks who are actively working against that transition get their way. If you have a plan to make such a historic transition in just 10 years (while defeating all political opposition), please educate us.

        Or are you one of the people who want to block the transition off of oil as energy?
      • 4 Years Ago
      I am against the corn subsidies. The U.S. Government has been providing for corn subsidies since 1978. It is time to stop. If a product is not able to be commercially viable after 10 years, much less over 30 then it should fail. With the advancements in cellulosic ethanol production, these products should be self-sustaining.

      There are many other plants that are less soil and labor intensive that they could use for biofuel production. Maybe they should look into them.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Kill it! Kill the zombie!
      I'm referring of course to ethanol subsidies, not Gingrich. Although he does look a bit like an extra from the Walking Dead.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I do care. I don't want the elimination of ethanol subsidies while oil companies are handed MY money on a silver platter (or my children's money on a golden Treasury Bill in the form of a larger deficit). Many others share this position.

        If you really have a goal of eliminating BOTH subsidies you will have to either fight us or join us.
        • 4 Years Ago
        So you repeat, Nixon. Over and over and over. Look, I want oil subsidies just as dead. But I frankly don't care who gets pushed first off the cliff.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Ethanol subsidies should end. But not until 5 minutes AFTER every single oil subsidy ends.
        • 4 Years Ago

        As long as ABG repeatedly posts articles about ending ethanol subsidies, Nixon should be allowed (encouraged) to repeatedly make comments about ending oil subsidies.

        It amazes me that ethanol subsidies get all the attention.
        • 4 Years Ago
        NRB, you have a good point. It's just that like anyone in the choir, I hate getting preached at. Let's mix the language up a bit and sell this puppy. It's a two-for-one deal on good government! Two blows against waste for the price of one! Double the tax savings, double the fun! Treehuggers and teabaggers agree, oil and ethanol have got to go!

        I know, lame. But let's work to keep it fresh boys!
      • 4 Years Ago
      The stupid arguing with the stupid.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This goes back to what I've said here before.

      If you want to get rid off ethanol subsidy we need to stop this undemocratic tradition of having the Iowa caucus as the first in the nation. Iowa has used this unjustified prominance to enrich themselfs using tax dollars from rest of the nation.

      BTW, McCain skipped Iowa primaries in 200 & 2008. He knew we has little chance of success there because of his opposition to ethanol subsidy.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The early small state primaries are designed to represent the interests of a larger region, not just that one state. The Iowa primary represents the collective interests of a whole bunch of plains states, just like the New Hampshire primary is there to represent the Northwestern states. Each of these states are SUPPOSED to be small so that candidates with small budgets get a chance to have their voices heard in the small states before the large state primaries.

        The idea when the agreement was made was to keep the 40+ small states from being completely irrelivant in primaries, and to give candidates with less starting cash a chance to become known throughout the US before they have to campaign in bigger, more expensive states.

        If Texas, California, New York, and Florida all had primaries first, then most primaries would be over before candidates ever left these 4 states. These states would be won only by the richest candidates who can campaign in these large states before having a chance to conduct fund raising. That means the only Presidents we would ever elect would be rich folks from Texas, California, New York, and Florida.

        I guess that is what you want? Or did you just mean to rail mindlessly against something without regard to consequence?
        • 4 Years Ago
        EXACTLY. Why does Iowa get such an inordinate amount of attention and their ethanol lobby always get what they want by being first in the election process? People act like it was written in the bloody constitution or something.

        • 4 Years Ago
        No Nixon, I had something more subtle in mind: using my brain to solve the problem. How about if we let a DIFFERENT small state/region go first sometimes? How about they rotate it?
        Did I say anything about small states not getting a say? Did I say Texas and California got to decide everything?

        No, that is your suggestion, not mine.

        So who is spouting off without thinking here, you or me?
      • 4 Years Ago
      There's a lot of hate for Newt, but he is one of the intellectual forces of our time. He can certainly out-think John McCain (or Obama). Ethanol ain't perfect, but it is good -- and as you watch Egypt tip over, with the Saudi's next, and your gas price shoot up over $5, you may want to take another look at biofuels. So long as we seem incapable of resurrecting a true American oil industry, let's grow our own fuel -- there's a lot of land to farm, a lot of greenwaste to distill, and a lot of garbage to process into an environmentally benign fuel.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "So long as we seem incapable of resurrecting a true American oil industry"....how do you think we'll do this? We use over 20% of the worlds oil production yet have less than 5% of world reserves even if you include ANWAR and offshore drilling.

        The math simply doesn't work.

        I do agree with you that we need to invest in biofuels and other items which can get us off of foreign oil. But corn is not the answer if it is still not self sufficient after nearly 30 years of subsidies.

        Now, if we get rid of ALL subsidies for oil, then perhaps we'll be paying $4 a gallon for ethanol...and it will be better than paying $6 a gallon for gas and might actually be a bargain.
        • 4 Years Ago
        First I want to say, don't be lazy, check wikipedia all of this info is there.

        Ethanol is great, as long as it's not from corn.

        The energy balance of corn ethanol is 1:1.3, which means that for every barrel of energy you put in you only get 1.3 barrels out after all the work.

        That is pitiful and does not deserve any subsidies. Subsidies which by the way increase the price of food, feed and fuel; because of the corn ethanol's hunger for resources and competition with everything else in the economy. By the way, a good portion of that one barrel you put in comes from oil. Oil that is then converted to ethanol. Guess what, oil has more uses, in plastics, rubers, pesticides, fertilizers, paints, packaging, other chemicals...
        So push all their prices up as well.

        Plus there are the hidden costs. The subsidy money doesn't come out of thin air. It's forcibly taken by the government from the hard earned money of individuals. Had this money not been taken, it would have lead to better investment and more output. Jobs are lost to feed the corn ethanol monster. And so is freedom, the freedom to spend what you earn without having it taken.

        And what do we get out? bloody nothing. The negatives completely outweigh the positives in this scam.

        You want to be taken seriously corn ethanol peddlers?


        2. Get an energy balance of at LEAST 1:8 as seen in Brazil.

        You do those 2 things before you even open your mouth.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Gringrich is not stupid. But he is a greedy whore who will say whatever is convenient at the time to get himself votes & campaign donations.

        He's got a book "drill here, drill now, pay less" filled with the most illogical policies that would never work due to basic physics and geology. But Newt is not drilling for oil . . . he's drilling for dollars & votes.

        Any competent geologist laughs at his stupidity.
        • 4 Years Ago
        well, Newt wasn't going to get my vote anyway...so whatevs.

        Joe - electric cars are here to stay, all the drilling that we (U.S.) are currently doing, we should of course keep at it, but I don't think we need to drill at any new locations. Nor do I think we need to continue relying on the extremely unstable middle east. We'' have to pay the higher prices over the next couple years, and by then electric cars will be widely available, and have a decent infrastructure.

      • 4 Years Ago
      The corn ethanol lobby is one of the most harmful special interest groups in the United States. Newt is an idiot for selling himself to the corn lobby in order to curry favor in Iowa. His naked ambition frequently overpowers his brain, and that's why he can't be trusted.
      • 4 Years Ago
      It's not that Obama is stupid, I just don't know if he ever spoke any words that were his own. On the other hand, he'll be in top demand as a news anchor.
        • 4 Years Ago
        You're lying, or willfully ignorant. It's well-recorded that Obama is heavily involved in the writing of his major speeches. For "A More Perfect Union", "Obama dictated a lengthy draft of this speech to his speechwriter Favreau", and reporters have described in detail his involvement in the writing of other major speeches like his Cairo speech to Muslims.

        Maybe you've confused your talking points. The criticism of Obama is usually "OK he's a great orator, but what's he done". It's interesting that many making the criticism laud Reagan as "the great communicator". Reagan wrote some of his speeches, but my impression is during his presidency he was less hands-on with his major speeches,trusting great speechwriters Peggy Noonan, Peter Robinson, and others to lay out his ideas clearly.
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