Friday, October 05, 2007

Iowa burning

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasure. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed by a dictatorship. —attributed to Alexander Tyler (1747-1813)

A month before she became Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson's campaign spokeswoman, Karen Hanretty bravely opined on The Hill's Pundits Blog in opposition to ethanol subsidies, "Perhaps it’s time to put America first and make Iowa go last."

After opposing them while he was a U.S. Senator, candidate Fred Thompson now backs billions in taxpayer subsidies to Archer Daniels Midland and Big Ag to burn our nation's corn supply for fuel — while domestic oil exploration and petroleum refinery construction have been at a virtual standstill for years, conveniently providing the "crisis" that ethanol has been waiting to solve.

Ethanol may be a scam, but like light rail and SCHIP for all, it wins elections — even if it doesn't solve the problems that it purports to solve, even with a blank check from the public treasury. Just ask Governor Tim Pawlenty — or former lieutenant governor candidate Judi "What's E85?" Dutcher.

Ethanol's a no-brainer — for politicians on both sides of the aisle. Tyler would certainly agree.

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