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Posted at 11:45 AM ET, 11/23/2010

GOP battle over ethanol heats up: Grassley swipes at Coburn and DeMint

By Greg Sargent

It looks like Chuck Grassley is not happy with fellow GOP senators Jim DeMint and Tom Coburn for calling on Congress to let billions in ethanol subsidies expire this year.

As I reported here yesterday, DeMint and Coburn, two leading conservatives, are calling on fellow Republicans to support letting the subidies expire as a way to prove the GOP is serious about reining in government spending. Just as the battle over earmarks did, ethanol subsidies could put GOP Senators who have supported them in the past -- such as Grassley and Orrin Hatch -- in an awkward spot, driving a wedge between them and conservatives who want a harder line on spending.

Now Grassley has responded to our story, firing off an angry Tweet at DeMint and Coburn, asking them rhetorically if they're also willing to back the expiration of tax subsidies for the oil and gas industry:

WashPost reports 2 of my colleagues want sunset ethanol tax credit R they ready sunset tax subsidies oilANDgas enjoys?

Coburn, however, appears ready to accept Grassley's challenge. His spokesman, John Hart, emails a response:

"Every aspect of the federal budget should be reviewed. Nothing should be off the table. Congress has to focus on the national interest, not the parochial politics of the past."

With Coburn throwing down the gauntlet and saying not even subsidies for the oil and gas industries should be off the table, it seems like there's a clear opening here for an unorthodox alliance between conservatives like DeMint and Coburn and green groups who also condemn such subsidies. It's unclear as of yet how hard DeMint and Coburn will push this crusade, but Coburn in particular does seem pretty serious.

While the issue could divide Dems along regional lines as well, it seems more directly relevant to the GOP as a clear test of how serious they are about living up to their anti-spending rhetoric. And Senate Dems may have an opportunity to drive a wedge into the GOP caucus over the issue, though it's unclear whether they have any intention of seizing it. It'll be interesting to see where the debate goes from here.

By Greg Sargent  | November 23, 2010; 11:45 AM ET
Categories:  Senate Republicans, energy  
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Comments

Rumors are that Prince Harry actually selected the wedding date for his brother.

Apparently, the date April 29 is the anniversary of the wedding of Hitler and Eva Braun.

April 29 is also St. Catherine's Day - not sure how that day is recognized by the Catholic Church, vs the Church of England.


.

Posted by: RedDogs | November 23, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

What's really amusing about this is that if Democrats had suggested ending any of these subsidies, the GOP (and the media) would have wailed endlessly about how it was a 'tax hike on business' and that the increases costs of business would be passed on to consumers.

Maybe if politicians and the media stopped treating this whole thing like a f*cking episode of "Survivor", and instead took their jobs and responsiblities seriously, we could move this country forward.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | November 23, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Good. Get rid of all subsidies.

Get rid of all corporate tax write offs.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | November 23, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Greg

If you think this dispute is going to get Grassley to vote for gay rights - or teaching kids about GAY SEX in second grade, you are sadly mistaken.

Isn't this getting ridiculous???


The American people voted for Obama because he promised bipartisanship and compromise - apparently the liberals NEVER got that message, and never wanted to adhere to it.


However, all this is getting excessively pathetic.

Posted by: RedDogs | November 23, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

"Now Grassley has responded to our story, firing off an angry Tweet at DeMint and Coburn, asking them rhetorically if they're also willing to back the expiration of tax subsidies for the oil and gas industry: WashPost reports 2 of my colleagues want sunset ethanol tax credit R they ready sunset tax subsidies oilANDgas enjoys? Coburn, however, appears ready to accept Grassley's challenge. His spokesman, John Hart, emails a response: "Every aspect of the federal budget should be reviewed. Nothing should be off the table. Congress has to focus on the national interest, not the parochial politics of the past."

Great job, Greg! You rock!

Posted by: wbgonne | November 23, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Go Coburn!

Posted by: sbj3 | November 23, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Is Grassley still going to be ranking on Finance? I think he's term limited. I know he was working with Conrad to extend the volumetric ethanol excise tax credit (VEETC) until 2015.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | November 23, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

"Every aspect of the federal budget should be reviewed. Nothing should be off the table. Congress has to focus on the national interest, not the parochial politics of the past."

While I still have no confidence in elected Republicans to be serious about actually cutting the budget (based on all of recorded history), I love the sound of that. I'm dubious but, if they are, good. Special tax breaks for oil and gas (anything beyond what any other corporation can take) should be gotten rid of. Ethanol subsidies should expire. If we feel taxes are too onerous on these people, cut the corporate tax rate, don't give favored industries special deal.

And the whole ethanol thing was a corn-fed fraud from the get-go. That should definitely get cut, and now.

That Grassley even expresses it that way: "Well, you take away my special backroom deal, I'll call you out on yours". What a bunch of crap. Grassley is just another inside-the-beltway, bought-and-paid for politician. At least, in that respect.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 23, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

My, my, my; looks like the solid bipartisan support that ending these subsidies got on the comment board yesterday is shared in Congress (maybe). This is going to get interesting. . .

Posted by: Michigoose | November 23, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Ethanol subsidies = boring as watching the corn grow.

All forms of government welfare should be eliminated. Then re-evaluated on a case by case basis. 'nuff said!

Posted by: battleground51 | November 23, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Is Grassley still going to be ranking on Finance? I think he's term limited. I know he was working with Conrad to extend the volumetric ethanol excise tax credit (VEETC) until 2015.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | November 23, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

"WashPost reports 2 of my colleagues want sunset ethanol tax credit R they ready sunset tax subsidies oilANDgas enjoys?"

HAHAHA! Yeah, DeMint, what ABOUT that?

Posted by: Ethan2010 | November 23, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Americans remain split, 47% to 50%, on whether it is the federal government's responsibility to make sure all Americans have healthcare coverage. At the same time, Americans show a decided preference, 61% to 34%, for a healthcare system based mostly on private insurance over a government-run system.

Americans seem somewhat less enthusiastic about other policies the Obama administration hopes to get passed by the end of the year, including repealing the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy that prohibits openly gay men and women from serving in the U.S. military, and passing the "DREAM" Act that would provide a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants living in the U.S. who were brought to the country as children. Fewer than one in three say it is very important for Congress to do each by the end of the year.

By Gallup <<<<<<<

61% prefer PRIVATE, healthcare insurance.

Only about 30% of the public want ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT AMNESTY and REPEAL OF DADT.

That means that about 70% of the public does NOT want the "Dream Act" considered.

That means about 70% of the public wants DADT to stand and does NOT want America's, military forces to be fully homosexualized.

Common sense is still alive, in America.

You guys had me nervous for a bit.

Whew!!

Posted by: battleground51 | November 23, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

One interesting angle in the "if you take away my ethanol subsidies, then I'll kill your oil subsidies" is that the two industries aren't as distinct as they once were.

The crash of the ethanol market in 2009, following a period of record oil company profits, led to oil companies buying a lot of ethanol manufacturing facilities out of bankruptcy, for pennies on the dollar. Marathon Oil, Sunoco and Valero (the nation's largest independent refiner) now own significant stakes in the ethanol business.

I support getting rid of the subsidies, particularly for corn-based ethanol and petrofuels. But ethanol isn't just a farm belt issue any more. The oil companies now have a stake. I'm not sure Coburn or Grassley fully appreciate that.

Posted by: bearclaw1 | November 23, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

OT, really interesting piece on HCR:

A majority of Americans want the Congress to keep the new health care law or actually expand it, despite Republican claims that they have a mandate from the people to kill it, according to a new McClatchy-Marist poll.

The post-election survey showed that 51 percent of registered voters want to keep the law or change it to do more, while 44 percent want to change it to do less or repeal it altogether.

[...]

"On health care, there is a wide gap between public opinion and the political community."

[...]

Among groups with pluralities favoring repeal: men, whites, those older than 45, those making more than $50,000 annually, conservatives, Republicans and tea party supporters.

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/11/22/104152/poll-majority-of-americans-want.html

Tons of good data in there...

Posted by: Ethan2010 | November 23, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

#1...Sorry, Charlie. You and your friends are going to now have to put up or shut up. The rush for ethanol has wildly manipulated and surged food prices around the world and does not help the environment anywhere near to the degree claimed. Facts do occasionally intrude despite efforts to the contrary!

And speaking of the intruding reality...

#2...For those still providing self serving and dubious poll numbers, manipulated 'opinion' and poll numbers based on deliberate disinformation, misrepresented facts and outright lies, ranging from health care reform to DADT, do not/definitely should not drive legislative decisions and reality-based needs of the majority.

Posted by: DrLou1 | November 23, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

some of the Republicans understand the message in the recent election. some just aren't going to get it.

As a conservative I have to agree with Kevin. I'm skeptical, but I'm certainly more hopeful now that there are more Republicans in Congress.

Not because the Republicans are without sin. Far from it. But America has understood that left to their own devices unimpeded Democrats will tax, spend, borrow and regulate our great country right into the ground.

Also, I wonder when some liberal here will say something about the optic that Chollie Rangel creates for them. Let's face it, he's now the poster boy for what's wrong with America's government. He ignored the rules he helped to impose on the rest of us and now he wants some credit for his service? Really?

So much for Sanfrannan's "most ethical congress in history" lie.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | November 23, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Get rid of all the big energy subsidies! Farm Subsidies and the Bush tax cuts. This country will never be solvent with the 2% of this nation getting "tax breaks" and still sending our jobs overseas and our money to the Arab peninsula thanks to all of you out there driving gas fossil fuel guzzling vehicles!

By the way, the GOP has made a conscious effort to not be bipartisan (bisexual maybe but NEVER bipartisan).

Conservatives see bipartisanship as them getting their way whether they're in the minority or the majority!!!

To h*ll with the conservatives, they're far too beholding to the big business, big energy, the very rich and not only that they sit back and revel in free health insurance when their in office but would rather have the rest of us scrounging in the streets.

I do enjoy watching all the politicians fighting amongst themselves and "shooting themselves in the foot" regardless of party affiliation. It's better than Jerry Springer only problem is that they're messing with the nation as a whole.

They fight while the rest of us suffer except of course for the rich and wealthy who just keep on eating caviar and sending our jobs to India!

I still want to know why the GOP kept their mouths shut while Bush was starting the wars and giving tax cuts to the wealthy driving up the deficit? Where were they then and why did the come out of hibernation now? Simply because we have a Democrat (and a black man) in office?

The Republicans have yet to demonstrate that they give one iota for the the working class in this country.

I'm sick to death of these two faced lying sacks of steaming greed and stupidity.


Posted by: davidbronx | November 23, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Rangel should resign but he won't. The real question is whether he runs again. I sure hope not. Too long in power. Not good.

Posted by: wbgonne | November 23, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

#3...Interestingly, as folks are better informed of the features of health care reform - like the elimination of insurance company manipulation for 'pre-existing conditions,' for instance, (and as just one example) those 'poll' numbers in favor of those features and health care reform overall rise exponentially.

And don't even get me started on the massive and largely evil propaganda campaign to discredit the repeal of DADT even though most of the top military commands support that very repeal.

Lies and even massive disinformation campaigns typically have a limited shelf life in societies where information can still be shared openly.

Do your poll numbers tell you that...?!?

Posted by: DrLou1 | November 23, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

"Every aspect of the federal budget should be reviewed. Nothing should be off the table. Congress has to focus on the national interest, not the parochial politics of the past."

It's sad that Obama didn't adopt this approach to his first budget in 2009. Things might have been a lot different now.

Posted by: jnc4p | November 23, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

"And Senate Dems may have an opportunity to drive a wedge into the GOP caucus over the issue, though it's unclear whether they have any intention of seizing it."

Do I gather from the tone that this is what Greg Sargent would like to see happen instead of actually getting rid of these subsidies?

Posted by: jnc4p | November 23, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

OT, this is fun :)

-Tea Party Group To Corporations: Support Obama And We'll Take You Down-

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/11/tea-party-group-to-corporations-support-obama-and-well-take-you-down.php

Posted by: Ethan2010 | November 23, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

OT, Benen = Smart

If Obama is so bad for business... ...then why have corporate profits risen faster than during any other 18-month period since the 1920s?

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2010_11/026775.php

Anyone? Bueler?

Posted by: Ethan2010 | November 23, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

-Tea Party Group To Corporations: Support Obama And We'll Take You Down-
----------------------------------------------
Whoops.

Didn't anyone tell these Tea Partiers about the Citizens United decision? Good luck on figuring who is giving who what.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | November 23, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

point #3 is a total fantasy. the fight over socialized medicine will be long and bruising.

I'm ready how about you? got your disinformation set to stun?

Just too funny.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | November 23, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

I love the smell of Tea Party overreach in the morning...

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | November 23, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

If Obama is so bad for business... ...then why have corporate profits risen faster than during any other 18-month period since the 1920s?

Anyone? Bueler?

Posted by: Ethan2010
_______________________

Well lets see. Businesses are not hiring anyone, because they don't know what Obama's policies will mean for their taxes and bottom line from day to day. The high unemployment has pushed wages down, leading to higher profits. Next to 0% interest has meant that businesses can get free money practically thrown at them from the Fed, and dam the consequences to the economy or money supply.

Should I go on?

Posted by: Bailers | November 23, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

All, fascinating poll numbers on racial profling:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/11/no_the_public_does_not_support.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | November 23, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

LOL. There's been more private sector hiring in this past year than all of Bush's years and Obama's bad for business.

You realize that if you look back at the last recession, the tech burst, and this most recent one, and count out the same amount of months up to now, Bush had around 90k job losses that month while Obama just have +150k job creation.

Why did Bush have a net -240k job loss after the same amount of time after a recession? And that's with a Republican House and Senate.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | November 23, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, the biggest single oil subsidy is the US military's enforcement of trans-national control over foreign oil; it's what the invasion of Iraq was really all about, as well as most of our military ad in the ME.

Not a chance in Hell that subsidy will ever be cut.

Posted by: tbetz | November 23, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

@ @ b51: 61% prefer PRIVATE, healthcare insurance.

Of course its all in the question phrasing. Strong majorities prefer a public option or a medicare for all insurance solution too if phrased positively.

Interesting given that between medicare, medicaid, and the VA more than 60% of health care is at least govt managed, and yet, somehow seniors and vets are not clamoring to get rid of them. Poor people on medicaid by definition don't have the choice to get care somewhere else. Any number of polls of medicare recipients indicates that they like it better than the private insurance they had before...imagine that... Medicare exists because private insurers wouldn't offer affordable health care to old sick people that were not independently wealthy...If private insurance is so wildly popular, why not offer medicare for all? No one would sign up and the mighty conservative idea machine would score yet another victory over the forces of facts and logic...In fact, why change anything since private insurance never engages in rescission, denial of care, price fixing, etc. and the cost of health care is stable.../snark

Posted by: srw3 | November 23, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Shorter Bailers:

"Obama gets all of the blame (for job losses that predate his administration) and none of the credit (for saving or adding millions upon millions of private sector jobs)."

Got it.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | November 23, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

I'm squarely behind Senators Coburn and DeMint on this one. These subsides are pure pork and special interest give-aways. Let the budget cuts begin!

Posted by: wireknob | November 23, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

RedDog: I thought the teabag movement was about economic issues, not social issues? Or was that all BS?

I agree with Mike from Arlington: Get rid of ALL corporate subsidies. (Of course, if we do that, businesses will run overseas, where they WILL be subsidized. For every action...)

Posted by: nyskinsdiehard | November 23, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

to: TheBBQChickenMadness

Oh heck, the media actually start reporting instead of repeating GOP talking points?? -- Well, THAT would require WORK (and more importantly getting the GOP-corporate machine down on you) You're no fun!

Hey, if they want the subsidies for ethanol to expire, I'll do them one better. Let subsidies die to the Oil companies. Then biofuels (ethanol and biodeisel) would be on an even playing field with gasoline.

THe New York Times did a study in the mid 1990's as to what gasoline would cost without all the tax breaks and program subsidies and if oil companies started paying royalties on oil taken from public lands based market prices. THeir answer: about $2.00 to $2.50 MORE per gallon.

Yeah, let's end ALL subsidies for ALL fuels. Ethanol won't need help if gasoline goes out at free market prices.

Come on now, you guys are gonna vote for Free market pricing of gasoline, araen't you?

BTW the roughly $5 Billion in lost tax revenues for the ethanol excise tax credit means we spend that much LESS for any fuel with Ethanol blended into it (all gasoline). The reduced price for ethanol is passed through to the consumer. So the consumer gets his blended gas cheaper in the same amount as the excise tax credit (depending on the proportion of ethanol blended).


The exise tax credit also, in promoting the domestic production of ethanol which replaces gasoline, means we imported about 257 million fewer barrels of oil in 2009. At a cost of $73 a barrel (for 2009) that comes to roughly $18.8 BILLION that was NOT sent out of the country for foreign oil.

Thus we eliminated a reduction to the GDP of $19 Billion (for the reduction in imported oil) and ADDED a similar figure ($19 Billion) to the GDP for DOMESTIC production of a fuel. The total impact on GDP?? $38 Billion.

Also, if we want cellulosic ethanol to come to fruition as quickly as possible we better keep a starch based ethanol industry in place. An already operating ethanol industry will shortent the time to bring cellulosic ethanol to commercial viability much quicker than starting from scratch (for cellulosic ethanol). Cellulosic ethanol will only become profitable when made on industrial scale. Having the production infrastructure in place to accomplish that will speed up cellulosic introduction by at least 10 years.

Posted by: Bill_USA | November 23, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

End corporate subsidies?

three words:

Ain't

Gonna

Happen!

Posted by: BattleOffSamar | November 23, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Bill_USA - that makes no sense.

Only gas is produced in any volume on public (subsidized) land.

Most all the oil comes from Ven, Mexico and Canada. The U.S. only produces a small percentage of it's crude oil domestically.

Posted by: BattleOffSamar | November 23, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

I'll be impressed when Demint suggest cutting something that effect his state.. let him sugget the feds stop subidizing hurricane insurance and stop rebuilding beaches..

Posted by: newagent99 | November 23, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Sugar should be next. Corn should be food. It is an inefficiant crop, uses incredible amounts of water for a relatively low yield. No more subsidies for businesses, or farmers. Sink or swim like everyone else.

Posted by: jckdoors | November 23, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Good show Republicans. Hang tough on the subsidies. You will thoroughly PO ADM with the loss of their ethanol subsidies. That's okay they are a nasty greedy corporation that makes money hand over fist anyway.

Posted by: Desertdiva1 | November 23, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

We should eliminate all Farm Welfare. Congress over the years have created the biggest taxpayer-funded, fail safe safety net, welfare program for American farmers: not only through the numerous monetary programs, but also through the Departments of Agriculture on every level of government. Eliminate it all. Free enterprise.

Posted by: dozas | November 23, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Get rid of all farm subsidies.

Get rid of corporate welfare.

We elected you.

We will fire you if it's the same old, same old.

Posted by: drjcarlucci | November 23, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Of course let them expire!

That being said, I have to admit, I agree with some other posters here. If a Democrat had suggested this, he would be immediately criticized for raising taxes on businesses. The GOP, Fox News, CNBC...they would all happily conclude that this was proof the Democrats are socialists that hate America and hate businesses.

Posted by: maurban | November 23, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Royalties are just one (small) part of the picture. The tax breaks are the biggest part.

Google: "As Oil Industry Fights a Tax, It Reaps Subsidies" -- NY Times article.

"an examination of the American tax code indicates that oil production is among the most heavily subsidized businesses, with tax breaks available at virtually every stage of the exploration and extraction process.

According to the most recent study by the Congressional Budget Office, released in 2005, capital investments like oil field leases and drilling equipment are taxed at an effective rate of 9 percent, significantly lower than the overall rate of 25 percent for businesses in general and lower than virtually any other industry.

And for many small and midsize oil companies, the tax on capital investments is so low that it is more than eliminated by var-ious credits. These companies’ returns on those investments are often higher after taxes than before. "

..... Now, I didn't mention, as economicst would, the cost of securing Middle Eastern oil fields. This runs into the billions or dollars. Does anybody think we went into Iran to make people free, or because of WMD???

These are true costs of oil/gas that we don't see bsecause they are paid by the Government. So we are still paying it, we just don't see it in the price on the pump.

..also...

Google: "The True Cost of Oil: $65 Trillion a Year?"
or paste this url into your browsers navigation bar:
http://www.energyandcapital.com/articles/oil-gas-crude/461

"Milton Copulus, the head of the National Defense Council Foundation, has a different view. And as the former principal energy analyst for the Heritage Foundation, a 12-year member of the National Petroleum Council, a Reagan White House alum, and an advisor to half a dozen U.S. Energy Secretaries, various Secretaries of Defense, and two directors of the CIA, he knows his stuff.

After taking into account the direct and indirect costs of oil, the economic costs of oil supply disruption, and military expenditures, he estimates the true cost of oil at a stunning $480 a barrel.

That would make the "real" cost of filling up a family sedan about $220, and filling up a large SUV about $325 (when oil was $10 a barrel cheaper than it is now!)."

There is much more at that site.

..and... Google "the true cost of oil"

for more articles/studies on the true cost of oil/gas.


Posted by: Bill_USA | November 23, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Oh, BTW about 80% of the Corn crop is fed to cattle and pigs. Now, you are saying "HEY, that adds up to more than 100%" Well, that's because, NONE of the Protein in corn is used in making ethanol. ONLY the STARCH IS USED TO MAKE ETHANOL.

THe protein is saved and turned into Dried Distillers Grains and Solubles ..a high protein feed supplement for cattle. So when they say they are turning food into fuel, that's not exactly correct.

ALL THE PROTEIN IS SAVED AND GOES INTO DREID DISTILLERS GRAINS AND SOLUBLES, which is fed to cattle and replaces corn (the farmer still has to purchase other feed to provide the starch but since cattle can digest stuff people can't it does NOT have to be food grains for people).

Which brings me to another point. Cattle evolved eating GRASS and they actually do better eating grass than corn. So feeding cattle people food is not necessary. They can do fine on stuff that people cannot eat!

Posted by: Bill_USA | November 23, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

As a conservative, I've always wondered how fellow Republicans from rural America could rail against the liberalization of America while continuing to support the sludge-filled process that is annual agricultural subsidies from the federal government.

Glad to see some real conservatives are ready to shake up the status quo, and really act like conservatives...instead of acting like Grassley-style Republicans who pretend to be conservative when it's convenient, but love to lavish pork on their pet interests when being conservative would require more integrity than they can muster.

Posted by: dbw1 | November 23, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Oh, BTW about 80% of the Corn crop is fed to cattle and pigs. Now, you are saying "HEY, that adds up to more than 100%" Well, that's because, NONE of the Protein in corn is used in making ethanol. ONLY the STARCH IS USED TO MAKE ETHANOL.

THe protein is saved and turned into Dried Distillers Grains and Solubles ..a high protein feed supplement for cattle. So when they say they are turning food into fuel, that's not exactly correct.

ALL THE PROTEIN IS SAVED and goes to make Dried Distillers Grains and Solubles, which is fed to cattle and replaces corn (the farmer still has to purchase other feed to supply the starch but since cattle can digest stuff people can't it does not have to be food grains for people).

Which brings me to another point. Cattle evolved eating GRASS and they actually do better eating grass than corn. So feeding cattle people food is not necessary.

Posted by: Bill_USA | November 23, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Americans remain split, 47% to 50%, on whether it is the federal government's responsibility to make sure all Americans have healthcare coverage. At the same time, Americans show a decided preference, 61% to 34%, for a healthcare system based mostly on private insurance over a government-run system.

Americans seem somewhat less enthusiastic about other policies the Obama administration hopes to get passed by the end of the year, including repealing the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy that prohibits openly gay men and women from serving in the U.S. military, and passing the "DREAM" Act that would provide a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants living in the U.S. who were brought to the country as children. Fewer than one in three say it is very important for Congress to do each by the end of the year.

By Gallup <<<<<<<

61% prefer PRIVATE, healthcare insurance.

Only about 30% of the public want ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT AMNESTY and REPEAL OF DADT.

That means that about 70% of the public does NOT want the "Dream Act" considered.

That means about 70% of the public wants DADT to stand and does NOT want America's, military forces to be fully homosexualized.

Common sense is still alive, in America.

You guys had me nervous for a bit.

Whew!!

Posted by: battleground51
_________________________
if you can spin like that, it's no wonder we're in trouble.

Health reform is private insurance based, not government run. So the public got what it wanted. And it's not about government responsibility either, it's making people get insurance so the cost of their free care in ERs isn't borne by the rest of us.

The military already has homosexuals. Always has. DADT is about whether they can admit it.

The Dream Act isn't about amnesty. Kids brought here as two year olds who are going to college aren't the face of the immigration problem.

Posted by: JoeT1 | November 23, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

newagent99:
"I'll be impressed when Demint suggest cutting something that effect his state.. let him suggest the feds stop subidizing hurricane insurance and stop rebuilding beaches."

Amen. I'm a conservative, and live in a relatively boring area of the midwest. It burns me to no end when I see year after year the federal government spending our tax dollars to rebuild the seaside homes of millionaires after hurricanes, mudslides, etc.

Not sure exactly how to do it, but the federal government should only step in with federal money when disaster hits an area where the disaster is a rare occurrence.

This would exclude federal funding to rebuild cliffside homes in Malibu after mudslides, San Francisco townhouses after an earthquake, riverfront homes along the Mississippi after floods, or beachfront homes in Florida after hurricanes. Let people include the cost of the appropriate insurance in the cost of living there, and if that makes it too expensive for them to live in these locales....MOVE!


Posted by: dbw1 | November 23, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

After sufficient posturing, ethanol and oil and gas subsidies will be declared a security issue. Not only will the Repubs not cut them, no doubt they will get worked up into a patriotic fervor and attempt to increase them. Everyone surely knows the military depends on stable supplies of gas, diesel and jet fuel.

Posted by: chucko2 | November 23, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Seriously? I see your Rangel and raise you an Ensign and a Sanford. Both sides use their political might for perks...I really think it's one of the reasons some people become career politicians. Because of all the goodies. But it you really want to talk "tax and spend Democrats", how about a dose of factual reality.

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2010/11/where-did-our-debt-come-from/66530/

--------------------------------------

some of the Republicans understand the message in the recent election. some just aren't going to get it.

As a conservative I have to agree with Kevin. I'm skeptical, but I'm certainly more hopeful now that there are more Republicans in Congress.

Not because the Republicans are without sin. Far from it. But America has understood that left to their own devices unimpeded Democrats will tax, spend, borrow and regulate our great country right into the ground.

Also, I wonder when some liberal here will say something about the optic that Chollie Rangel creates for them. Let's face it, he's now the poster boy for what's wrong with America's government. He ignored the rules he helped to impose on the rest of us and now he wants some credit for his service? Really?

So much for Sanfrannan's "most ethical congress in history" lie.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | November 23, 2010 12:47 PM

Posted by: solipsism | November 23, 2010 5:45 PM | Report abuse

@dbw1 "pretend to be conservative when it's convenient, but love to lavish pork on their pet interests"

Haha.

Ummm...

You just described 98% of the Republican Party.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | November 23, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

I'm a little concerned that I agree with both Coburn and DeMint. It makes no sense to subsidize turning grain into fuel. Sugar Beets, the source of most U.S. white sugar, would be a better choice. But, as long as Iowa has the first presidential caucus's we'll never get rid of the ethanol subsidy. Even the Pom Pom Girl from Palmer will get on board.

Posted by: BBear1 | November 23, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse

From the Huffington Post:
Al Gore: Supporting Corn-Based Ethanol Subsidies Was A Mistake
Posted: 11-23-10 05:21 PM
Now he tells us. Al Gore says his support for corn-based ethanol subsidies while serving as vice president was a mistake that had more to do with his desire to cultivate farm votes in the 2000 presidential election than with what was good for the environment.

Sounds like treason to me.

Posted by: AForgottenMan | November 23, 2010 6:21 PM | Report abuse

The Democrats should sit on their hands for a wile. As sooon as the Republicans see it's a bi-partisan idea, they will change their minds.

Posted by: wd1214 | November 23, 2010 8:39 PM | Report abuse

Pass the popcorn!

Seriously, the right thing to do is end all these commodity subsidies. They do nothing to put GOOD food on the table and they go to corporations at the expense of true family farmers.

Here in California, they cause cotton to be grown on land that is consequently over irrigated, wasting water and, due to run-off from naturally occurring heavy metals, polluting downstream waters as well.

King Corn? Watch it.

And TALK about socialism. The government, through subsidies, is telling farmers what to grow, and how much of it.

The need to cut this stuff ASAP.

On that, I agree with the TPers.

Posted by: theRealCalGal | November 24, 2010 12:17 AM | Report abuse

"The American people voted for Obama because he promised bipartisanship and compromise - apparently the liberals NEVER got that message, and never wanted to adhere to it."

I'm sorry, Red Dogs, but it is the ReThuglicans who would not compromise. They made it clear they were going to vote NO on all kinds of things, no matter what the Administration conceded to them.

Now what the Administration DID then concede things to them, I do not know.

Do you ever read newspapers or listen to anything but Faux News?

Posted by: theRealCalGal | November 24, 2010 12:24 AM | Report abuse

Demint and his cohorts want to further drive down the standard of living of Americans. Could the model be Jim Demint's home state which suffers from the 4th highest unemployment in the Nation with skyrocketing social problems as a result?

Read this: http://jimdemints-southcarolina.blogspot.com

Posted by: joel27 | November 24, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Don't eliminate the subsidies. Why not decrease ethanol, oil and gas subsidies uniformly and then after that uniform decrease take all the extra dollars that oil and gas will be getting above ethanol (like they are getting now) and make them all equal. So all are on a level playing field. Congress looks good and clean ethanol has a chance to continue to reduce dirty fossil fuel consumption and pollution.

Posted by: jseifert4 | November 24, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

I think we should eliminate ALL subsidies for energy sources, coal, oil, gas, ethanol, nuclear, wind, solar - everything. It would place the energy debate back on a rational basis - what is REALLY the least expensive form of energy, and where should we go to get our future energy?

New generations of nuclear reactors using thorium (of which the United States has ample supplies) would seem to be the most economical way to generate our nation's electrical power, but there's a potentially much cheaper way to generate fusion power (the Bussard Polywell internal confinement fusion reactor) which is not being funded at all, despite the fact that it can be fueled with boron, of which the United States has vast quantities.

It's also time for Congress to look hard at going over to domestic sources of energy because the portion of our defense budget spent on securing access to the Persian Gulf and the Caucasus is one of the largest hidden subsidies of our current reliance on imported oil and gas.

Posted by: loupgarous | November 28, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

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