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Saturday, March 25, 2006 

Pride: Yes, Ethanol AGAIN

Wisconsin declined a chance to increase local jobs, stimulate the local economy, and to distance energy supply from our enemies. Illinois and Minnesota already have E-10 mandates; Indiana is well on the road to having one as well. Minnesota is even considering increasing their mandate to E-20. What do these states know that Wisconsin does not?

It’s not that there aren’t supporters. The press certainly “gets it”. Yet, I have seen 2 of my regular blog reads deride the Wisconsin Ethanol bill in a matter of fact manner in the last few days.

Why are conservatives reflexively against Ethanol?

I asked tee bee about this at her place and got the stock conservative answers, The Market, freedom to choose, the evil “farm lobby”, not the “final solution”, not “green” enough. Go see how the discussion is turning out.

Click Here for a summary of my rebuttals to each point.
The Market

The market is great; I am a big fan of the market. There are some things that would not exist if we relied solely on the market. The interstate highway system, which has become the backbone of our economy, is a really good example. Lots of my conservative brethren are fond of saying that the government should build roads and secure the country. Investing in an Ethanol infrastructure does both. The alternative is to hope that Ethanol (or other alt fuel) just happens to be available the instant the spigots get closed in the Middle East.

Freedom to choose

This is a great sound byte for anti-ethanolers. Who could be against freedom and for regulation? I submit that the consumers have no freedom now and cannot while a very few big oil companies control the price and supply. We all know what happened to prices after Hurricane Katrina, they even went down a bit after the crisis was “over” as promised. You call that freedom? When something thousands of miles away affects you that quickly, how free are you? You paid because you had to; you had no other choice other than to stay home and quit your job. I drove about happily in my E-85 fueled car. The impact of Katrina is nothing compared to what is coming in the Middle East.

Farm Lobby

Farm lobby or big oil, your choice. What is the difference? One is in Wisconsin the other only extracts cash from Wisconsin. One is mainly your local employers, the other is beholden to terrorist supporting states. I know which I would pick.


I dislike farm subsidies as much as the next conservative. If you want to be fair, compare the total money spent on farm subsidies against the cost of the war in Iraq. I am a war supporter, but I harbor no illusions as to why we give a rats behind about the Middle East.

Long Term

This argument is one of my pet peeves. It is the classic “the perfect is the enemy of the good” argument. If we wait around for H2, electric, flux capacitor, “Mr. Fusion” technology, we could be living in caves and cooking our freshly killed meat over an open fire. Is Ethanol the long-term solution? Maybe, maybe not, but it is clearly better than continuing the status quo and bowing down to our Saudi masters.

Green Issues

I am not a “green”. I never tout the supposed green-ness of Ethanol as a reason to support it. It just is not part of the equation for me. The above reasons are more than enough to earn my support and IMHO the support of all security minded Americans.

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