After the first, early Allied success during WWII, Winston Churchill famously declared that "This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end--But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning". Could the Senate vote on killing of one of the most expensive and irresponsible taxpayer subsides signal the "beginning of the end" of stupid and wasteful government programs that cost too much, reward only a special few, and rarely deliver the promised benefits? Let us hope so.
A stubborn Washington has taken a long time to finally come to its senses and kill ethanol subsides. Once heralded as a great "green" initiative, studies soon proved that diverting huge amounts of American farmland to the production of expensive corn-based ethanol actually increased green house gases. America's best scientists warned stubborn senators that the nation’s ethanol policy was not achieving the desired results, even as it consumed massive amounts of taxpayer money.
Unfortunately, key Senators such as Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) had fully embraced the program as a way to divert more of the nation's wealth to a select few in his home state of Iowa. Year after year, the studies showed that the ethanol subsidy was a colossal waste. Yet, more and more resources poured into the market-distorting ethanol program which now consumes nearly 40% of the entire US corn crop, driving up costs on nearly all food stuffs and major feed additives throughout the economy.
Year after year, experts would publish a fact-based report on the harm and expense of the great ethanol swindle. Meanwhile Senator Grassley, powered by a huge ethanol lobby desperate to continue subsidies, moved the nation in the opposite direction. Each year taxpayers were asked to pony up even more for the ethanol industry, while high tariffs were erected to preclude any imports from Brazil.